Long ago I read a book by Mother Teresa where she described her morning prayer time with God. She would rise early in the morning, long before the sun, and sit with her Heavenly Father. A typical prayer-filled morning would last about 4 hours. But then if the day was expected to be overly demanding she would rise even earlier to have extra prayer time --- explaining that if she did not have the needed time with God first, the fruit of the day would be insufficient for the needs.
I was amazed by this way of thinking. In my child-like mind, if the day was expected to be overly demanding, then extra sleep might be needed to be rested and ready. Mother Teresa knew the truth though. If there was no filling of God, no strengthening from Him, then her strength would never be sufficient no matter how much "rest" she stored up. The demands ahead of her would require God's filling, anointing, favor, empowering, guidance, blessing, wisdom, discerning and enabling. So spending the extra time with Him, was the foundation to her effectiveness with others.
Below is an excerpt from "A Simple Path" a book about Mother Teresa's ministries:
I can literally feel God shifting my mind set --- altering my focus --- preparing me for the days ahead. When it will be MOST fruitful for me to pray long and often, and sit still (perhaps under an acacia tree). To love in unhurried real-time ways. To love and speak and move in ways that reveal --- loving well matters more than measurable results of my "love in action" (a phrase often used by Mother Teresa).
As I ponder this shift taking place at my core ---- I realize I have not loved well in this way. I've already been on my knees with my Father about it.
I've always, always, always been a results oriented person --- sadly enough, even with love. I've foolishly believed, "well, if the results will not be meaningful for them, then it will be a wasted effort".
I like to plan, organize, and implement. God is saying to my heart --- I, God, am making these plans. I, God, will organize these details, and I, God, will implement. This will be done, my way, in my time, according to my plans, and for my glory.
----- I, God, --- want you to LOVE OTHERS! Outcomes, results, responses do not matter. Love others donna - love deeply and often. I will hold the meaningfulness in my hands and use it at my will.
It will not matter what I say ---- what will matter is how I love. Love through words yes --- but I can also love without them. There is no language barrier in love.
For the record ---- I have never had a season in my life when God held me still the way He is holding me still now. I know --- to shift from this place, would be disobedient. I know --- He is preparing me in ways I can not grasp. I know --- the powerful hand of my loving Father is on me. How can such power produce such peace?
I also know --- that the days ahead in Kenya will reveal the fruit of what God is doing in me right now. Let there be no mistaking this ---- God will accomplish much --- He will be glorified.
1 Corinthians 13: 1-7 (Message translation)
1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. 3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Photo of Jackson Maina Taylor (our Kenyan son) and me on a cold day in Kinangop, Kenya, taken by Maggie