By Melissa McLaughlin
When Life Slows You Down
Have you ever been driving along the highway, cruising at a nice steady speed, not a care in the world, smooth sailing, commuter’s bliss, when all of a sudden the traffic slows to a crawl and then to a stop? The frustration sets in almost immediately. Looking at your watch. Thinking about your to-do-list, mentally sorting through your agenda for the day, all the places you need to be, all the things you need to do. In a flash your anxiety level skyrockets from “all is well” to “when will this be over”.
What can we do when life slows us down?
Most days include these unexpected, unwanted moments of slowness, when our internal life clocks have been re-set without our permission. It may be while driving, it may be while working, it may be while caring for people or managing things in our homes. Often these times of slowness are more than just momentary. It may be a job change or loss of job, an illness or health change, the needs of a family member or friend that require your time.
Where do we turn when life slows us down?
Recently, the rhythm of my life was set to a slower pace. Due to a series of health setbacks combined with home repairs and family events, some losses, some joyous, I was left with a slowing down of my desired pace and life agenda.
Naturally, my first response, much like when driving, was frustration. I felt like I wasn’t accomplishing anything, like I was walking in slow motion, pushing through quicksand, slogging through deep waters. I felt the world moving ahead at its usual breakneck speed while I watched from the sidelines. With gentle prodding, I sensed the Lord inviting me to slow down my spirit, keep in step with Him and use the time for prayer instead of pressure.
What can we pray when life slows us down?
Three Ideas for Prayer
Here are three simple things to pray when you find yourself in a place of slowness.
1.Help me sense Your Presence, dear Lord.
Heavenly Father, may I use this pause in my life as a sacred pause, a holy moment, a soulful calming, to be still with You and remember that You are God. Help me stand in awe and wonder at the deep, rich, fullness of who You are and what that means.
Psalm 46:10 – Be still and know that I am God.
Holy Spirit, I invite you to awaken my soul to Your Presence with me in all things. Let me take comfort and joy in Your closeness with me wherever I may be.
Deuteronomy 31:8 – The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
Lord Jesus, help me fix my thoughts on You that You may be high and lifted up through the praises of my heart. Let me voice my praises and listen to the sound of Your name as I call out that name above all names, Jesus!
Hebrews 12:1b-12a – And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
Loving Father, help me use this time to draw near to You, recalling Your greatness and the greatness of Your love for me.
James 4:8a – Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.
2.Help me give thanks to You, my Loving Heavenly Father.
Sovereign Creator, You have created this day and have enabled me to be alive in it. Give me a heart of gratitude for who You are and all You have done for me in Christ Jesus. Holy Spirit, remind me right now of all the things I can be thankful for, from the greatest to the smallest blessings, they are all from You. Though I may not be thankful for any harmful or painful circumstances, I can thank You for being with me through it and for the Godly wisdom and good you can bring about in my life as a result of this difficult experience.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
3.Holy Spirit, lead me to pray for others.
Holy Spirit, help me use this stillness as a time of prayer to lift up others and do Your great spiritual kingdom work. Please bring to my mind and heart those who You know need my prayers right now. Those who are grieving, those who are sick, those who are hospitalized or recovering at home, those who are hurting emotionally, those who are lonely, those who are out of work, those who need to know You or walk more closely with You and any others You bring to mind. Spirit of the Living God, pray through me this day, in this very moment of quietness. May Your kingdom come, may Your will be done through these sacred slowed down prayers, just as it is in heaven. In Jesus’ name, amen.
1 Timothy 2:1a – First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.
Ephesians 10:16-18 – In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.
When Life Slows You Down…Pray!
When we yield our moments of slowness to the Lord, they are transformed into golden moments of grandeur for His kingdom and for His glory! Have you recently experienced a time of slowing down? Are you currently moving at a crawl or has your life come to a stop? Ask the Lord to help you use this time of restriction to accomplish God’s agenda, God’s spiritual to-do-list, God’s prayer plan, according to God’s eternal time management methods. If you have additional “slow time” scriptures and prayers, please share! May God move in a mighty way, as we pause and meditate on the weight and magnitude of His glory and enjoy partaking in His kingdom work!
Zechariah 4:6b – Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.
Highway Painting ©Tom McLaughlin
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Great words of advice especially the statement “help me sense your presence dear Lord. Great prayer
Amen! May we use all of our time, when things go well, and when they take twists, turns and pauses, for the glory of the Lord! God bless you, Yvonne!
Hab. 3:17-19…my favorite verse. It says it all. “Though the fig tree should not blossom, and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail, and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet and makes me walk on my high places.” In other words, no matter what I am dealing with I will praise God and rejoice in Him and He will give me strength to rise up to meet the challenge, to overcome all obstacles. He will give me strength to walk on top of everything! I am above…not beneath, because of Him.
Oh, Michelle, this is one of my favorites, as well! I memorized that verse when I was in college and would speak the truth of God’s power and presence over any fear or disappointment I was feeling. Thank you for sharing! God bless!
You’ve nailed it once again my beautiful sister!
God bless you, dear sister!
These are 3 excellent suggestions! Thanks for sharing them with us. There is purpose in everything if we just ask God to show us, yes? Amen. Blessings to you, Melissa. You’re making a difference in my life!
Amen! So true, Lisa! God does not waste even a moment, if we give it over to Him. Beauty from ashes. Worship jams out of traffic jams. You honor me, Lisa. You are a great blessing to me!
Melissa, What a great reminder that we need to particularly lean into God and his word when we are struggling in some way. Rather than focus on our horizontal circumstances and get frustrated, angry, depressed – we need to look vertically towards God. Love this verse, Zechariah 4:6b – “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” It will not be by our strength, but through the Spirit’s strength and provision, that we will be able to walk through challenges, detours, plan B’s with conviction, strength and a profound sense of peace.
It all sounds so simple, Anne, as you put it! Somehow, I need constant reminders to refocus my mind and heart on God. You are right on – leaning into God’s Word, the Bible, is key. My emotions, thoughts and perceptions can lead me astray, but God’s Word is unchanging and true. Always. Blessings to you!
Intentionally trying to slow things down day-to-day is very important. Thanks for the reminder.
I need the reminder for myself, as well, Claudio! May we spur one another on to greater faith, day by day.
Melissa, these are great perspective-establishing thoughts for those seasons when God slows our lives down. I appreciate the scriptures and your thoughts here.
Thank you, Jeanne, for the kind comments! Some seasons seem to be one step of waiting after another, but I do believe as we lean on the Lord and His Word, we grow stronger. I heard a quote – though the mountaintops provide a beautiful view, things grow in the valleys. Praying we abide in Him to produce much fruit, whether full pace, slowly plodding or resting in stillness with Him.
How fitting for me, your post hits close to home because our Daughter and Grandson have been living with us since April of last year. In order to help her out I have been changing my schedule to help take care of our Grandson which has definitely caused me to look at life differently, my schedule, time planning and so forth. Thank you for this timely message!!
I am lifting you, your daughter and grandson up in prayer right now, Stephen. May the Lord bring about great and mighty things in all of your lives as you yield your schedule and time to Him! God bless you!
Thank you very much and God Bless!!!!
I am being slowed down by a snow day and the classes I teach being canceled. I am enjoying time to listen to worship music, read. and pray. 🙂
That sounds wonderful! What a wonderful way to rest in the goodness of God on a slow day! God bless you and keep you safe as you shovel out and head back to class tomorrow.
thank you 🙂
Hi Melissa. I get an hourly chime to remind me that God is present (thanks to a suggestion from Chip Mattis in one of his blog posts). It’s amazing how that simple hourly reminder moves my focus to a better place. The fact that God is present puts everything in perspective and praise goes to Him. Thank you for these helpful suggestions and verses.
Wow! What an awesome tip! You are right, Stephen, a quick refocus on God can do wonders. God only needs a crack into the door of our hearts to warm the coldest soul. Bless you!
Love this. Sometimes, thanking God for our present slowdown is all I need to flip my perspective on end.
It’s true, Jessica! A heart of gratitude can turn everything around. Partly because when we remember to thank God for each blessing, we are also pausing to remember that He is our Provider and Sustainer, Giver of life and life eternal. Bless you, sister!
Wonderful article! I read this at the end of my day when I was thinking that I did not get enough accomplished today. A perfect reminder to just take a breath and focus on Him! Thank you for this.
Amen! God bless you, Michelle! I’m pausing to pray for you right now. May God shine His light of beauty and grace over your reflections of the day and the time you have left.
This has patience written all over it! And where patience is, there’s love. You’re right! We have to pray!
Truth! Prayer is the only way to turn frustration into beauty. But this is what God can do when we let Him!
Very true sis!
Excellent prayers. My prayer/ action: to slow down and take time in his presence. I’ve let other things take priority; thanks for the convicting blog.
Please believe me, this is a message for myself, too! I need every reminder I can get. May we choose that greater thing, to sit at His feet. Bless you, Candace!
Good advice. I’m currently in a season where God has put me in “time out” again with a foot issue so this is timely. How like God to lead me your way!
Dear Loretta, I’m sorry to hear about your “time out” due to foot issues. I’m lifting you in prayer right now, that God will give you healing, peace and strength to use the time for fervent prayer. Yes, that is just like God to send you this way. We love you, Lord Jesus! Blessings to you as you heal and pray!
Giving thanks is a big way that I slow myself down when I feel that I am in overdrive. Remembering all that God has done for me (NOT that I have done for myself) helps me put things back into perspective.
Paul, I completely agree. It takes intentionality to keep a humble perspective before the Lord, remembering that every gift, opportunity, blessing, etc. – it is all from Him, not of our own doing. But the more we can maintain that perspective, the more grateful we will be. May you pause in overwhelming gratitude today!
This is just what I needed this morning, Melissa! 💞
God bless you, Gail! Glory to God, the One who knows our every need!
Wow, what a powerful and appropriate message. Thanks Melissa for your encouragement and practical suggestions. It perfectly fits the ‘delays and detours and even some dead ends’ Kathy and I have been experiencing lately. Thanks so much for allowing the Lord to speak through you.
Dear Bruce, you said that so well “delays, detours and dead ends”. God never wastes a moment or an experience if we can just re-center ourselves in the palm of His gentle hands and let Him use every single thing for His glory and our ultimate good. Only God can orchestrate a greater good out of a difficult time, but oh the things He can do! Praising the Lord, that He provided these words that ministered to you. I am praying for you and Kathy right now. May the Lord use your times of slowness for His great purposes! Bless you!
These scriptures are so familiar to me, but I always like reading them in a new context because another aspect of the meaning comes to life. Though I’m sorry you have had a trying time lately, I’m glad you were able to use it to draw closer to the Lord. That is certainly what He desires us to do!
Slowing down can be difficult but “to everything a season”.
So true, Nicole! It is never a welcome thing when we have to slow down a bit, but oh the beauty of God that He can reveal when we do! I found the same experience with these scriptures when lined up with prayer. God’s Word never ceases to bring wonder to my soul. Thanking Him that the Holy Spirit illuminated these scriptures in a new way today. Shine on through Your Word, dear Lord! Blessings to you, Nicole!
Slowing down is a hard thing for me, and I haven’t always appreciated when it’s been ‘forced’ by circumstances beyond my control. These prayers are great, and I love the scriptures and truths that support each prayer. Thank you for a practical and encouraging way to focus on God during a hard slow season.
Ohhh, you captured the heart of the matter! I don’t enjoy anything I am “forced” to do beyond my control and slowing down is the worst. The scriptures are a gold mine of spiritual wealth, health and strength. It’s my favorite way to pray, connecting God’s truth with my heart’s cry. Praising God for His unchanging Word, a rock beneath our feet! Bless you!
Great post, Melissa, and filled with wisdom … but tough for we who are “patience-challenged.” It’s one of those posts when you say to yourself, “I know she’s right from top to bottom, but I’d still rather not have ANY times of slowness.” However, this is what sanctification is all about. Thanks for the cold, but needed, bucket of water
David, you’re cracking me up! I pray the message was a bucket of cold Living Water! Anyway, I understand completely about the issue of being “patience-challenged”. May God do great and mighty things through your times of hidden slowness! God bless you!
Love this post! Love the scriptures you used, Melissa! All three points you make about what to do during a slowing down in life are wonderful! Just reading the need to be in God’s presence is peaceful. And to be grateful for what He had done for us changes our perspective, just as praying for others does the same.
I can remember being pregnant and going into labor very early, I had to be on bed rest for five months! I guess you could say that really slowed me down. It was hard, but looking back, it did give me sweet times with my, then, toddler. 🙂
Glory to God! I pray that these scriptures and prayers will stick with us when we encounter our next moment of waiting, whether for 5 minutes or 5 months! Wow, that must have been very difficult. So glad you can see the good that God provided during your bed rest. Bless you, Marcie!
God’s timing is so perfect. As I was reading this, the words to the song playing in the background said, ” Let us become more aware of Your presence, Lord” Amen. As my slow days became even more slow lately, He has been lifting my eyes to look for Him right here. He does join us together with Him, even as we pray for each other through the slow times. Blessings to you!
Amen! Dear Bettie, you couldn’t have said it better, “God’s timing is perfect.” We can’t see it, we can’t wait for it, but we know He is a good, good Father working to bring about our ultimate good. I’m praying for you right now, sweet Bettie. May God give you renewed strength, hope and purpose as you are in a time of great slowing. May your prayers become as a sword in His hand. Blessings and love to you!
So timely for me as I come out of 3 months at a slowed pace. Your scriptural prayers are beautiful. I found your post a nourishment for my soul. Thank you!
Praise God! Thank you, Peggy, for joining me in prayer. God’s scriptures always provide the nourishment our souls need, like nothing else. May God bring about great gems from your time of slowness with Him!
PS: My husband is an artist too!
Yay!!! Please let me know if you post his work!
I was just wondering if Tom was your husband or son lol.
Tom is my husband. He is an artist and art teacher. 🙂
Love this post. A great way of thinking about what we perceive as delays and interruptions. God bless!
God bless you, Nancy! May God be realigning our hearts and minds in the good time and in the tough times!
I love this! I most definitely grow impatient very quickly when the traffic slows! I love that you use this example to bring up different ways to pray. I wrote a prayer devotional about this very thing, and it’s fun seeing God bring this truth to us in different ways!
Wow! Yay, God! I love it when the Holy Spirit puts the same message on different people’s hearts so that it can be expressed from different angles! I’m looking forward to reading your devotional, Emily!
Pursuing HIs presence, giving thanks, praying for others. Great thoughts for what to do when life slows us down! Blessings, Melissa!
Dear Lisa, may we keep these thoughts, scriptures and prayers anchored to our souls and minds for the next moment of slowing down! Then we can enjoy God and make ourselves available to be used by Him no matter where we are. Bless you!
Hey Melissa, sorry to hear about your losses , family events, and health issues. This is a powerful message and so needed. It seems no one wants to slow down until the breakneck speed actually is our breaking point. Love the first prayer and this thought, “Heavenly Father, may I use this pause in my life as a sacred pause, a holy moment, a soulful calming, to be still with You….” Yes!
Thank you for the kind words of encouragement, Karen. I agree wholeheartedly with your comment “no one wants to slow down until the breakneck speed actually is our breaking point”. Wow. Holy Spirit, help me yield myself to You moment by moment, breaking down my agenda, so I can enjoy Your presence and be a light for Jesus in this world, whether I am running at full speed or sitting on the sidelines with You.
These are great tips about what to pray for! Thank you for sharing!
This is the 2nd time today I’m hearing the message of slowing down… think God’s trying to reach me? 😉
I really love your first prayer – praying to know God’s presence. Funny enough I pray that for others all the time but rarely if ever for myself.
Going to start praying that now.
I have noticed the same thing, Christina! Everywhere I turn, there are messages about slowing down with the Lord. The Holy Spirit is hammering home that message! I’m so glad one of the prayers was helpful to you. May your heart and mind hunger for the Presence of the Lord more than ever before!
A good word, Melissa! I’m in the same place through a combination of events similar to what you describe. Your list of focus and praise are what I’ve been doing and aiming toward. You’ve put it together, so nice and tidy, that I’m making a copy of your words for my Desktop as a ready reference of passages and reminders of Who and where to turn. God bless you, sister, in the slowdown. May we always turn first to him.
Dear Melinda, it is very special when we discover that God is leading others in a similar way through the difficult times. I praise God that you found the suggestions here helpful! May your times of slowness be powerful in the hands of the Lord! And most of all, yes, yes, may we always turn to Him first. Bless you, sister!
I pray the same for you in your time of slowness. God is with us, dear sister.
I love this post, the Scripture verses, and the encouragement. Focusing on God and His Word calms the soul.
Amen! Thank you for reading and commenting. Like you, my soul is calmed, nourished and strengthened by focusing on God and His Word. There is power in the name of Jesus!
Amen!!! This was a timely read for me! Thank you!!
I’m so glad this was a blessing! Glory to God! Have a wonderful week with your family!