I’m not sure how to explain this, but let me try. We handed out at church this little card (see a copy at the top). It’s about 2 1/2 inches square and it has some numbers and a big check mark on the front. We were fearful it might be received as a kind of gimmick.
Boy, were we wrong.
Our goal was to describe the first 30 minutes of their day. The first 15 minutes (minimum) with the upward pointing arrow symbolized that their first conscious activity was to be in touch with God. To pray, to get into the Word, to worship. For some, 15 minutes is not long enough. I know that. For others, spending that first few minutes with God is a whole new idea. Before turning on the TV, before email, before Facebook, before breakfast. We suggested they begin, maybe in one of the gospels and read, prayerfully until God says, “Stop; you and I need to talk about this.”
The second 15 minutes (with the arrow pointing horizontally) symbolizes the act of making contact with someone outside their family…phone, text, email, whatever… to bless them. Just to say something like, “I was praying for you this morning and I just wanted to remind you of how much God loves you, and so do I.” For some the second 15 minutes may come later in the day, but it’s still on their to-do list.
Here’s the deal: those who understand this stuff tell us it takes about 66 days to form a new habit – until an activity becomes a regular practice. Most of the folks really liked the idea of a reminder to practice a good idea till it became a habit. We handed out the little cards two or three weeks in a row. We urged them to put one on the bathroom mirror, the nook where they usually have their worship time, even the dashboard in their car. We assured them we wanted the cards to be an ever-present nudge till the practice became deeply engrained.
To our surprise, the idea caught on. One of our lay leaders told us that for the first time he got the courage to visit his neighbor who has advanced stage 4 cancer. He and the neighbor and wife stood in a circle holding hands, praying for God’s supernatural intervention. It was an extraordinary time for all three.
One of our precious ladies, a new member, told us how she walked down the hallway of her apartment house, praying for the people who lived there. She doesn’t have the courage to go face-to-face with them yet. But she will.
Sherry is an employee health nurse near our church. One day this week she found herself standing out at the curb at the FedEx box shipping blood samples. The FedEx truck pulled up and the driver looked a bit distraught. Sherry asked him if he was ok. “Not really,” he replied. “Can I pray for you?” Sherry asked. There by the FedEx box, she did. Great sensitivity to the Spirit’s coaching. Try it; you’ll like it.
By Don Jacobsen (hope-heals.org)