Thursday, December 16, 2010

Five Minutes With God

Last week I finished reading Mitch Albom’s book, Have a Little Faith. In the epilogue he records a conversation he had with his hometown rabbi.

He was talking about heaven and suddenly, for some reason, I had a notion. What if you only get five minutes with God? “Five minutes?” he said. Five minutes, I said. God is a busy God. Here’s your slice of heaven. Five minutes alone with the Lord and then, poof, on you go to whatever happens next. “And in those five minutes?” he asked, intrigued. In those five minutes, you can ask anything you want.

You will have to read the book for yourself to see how the rabbi answered the question. It is quite a good answer, by the way. The whole book is definitely worth reading; I recommend it. But for the last few days I have been pondering how I would answer the question.

Would I ask God the big theodical questions about suffering and evil? Would I intervene for loved ones? Would I pose the prayer of Bill Murray in Groundhog Day and say a prayer for world peace? What would I do with my five minutes with God?

After some thought I have decided that I would simply enjoy the company. If all I got were five minutes, I would not waste them on my own questions and concerns. I don’t need to understand how suffering and evil works into God’s plan for the universe. I trust that God knows how it all fits together; that is good enough for me.

I don’t have to worry about my loved ones. They are in God’s good hands. Neither do I have to intercede for world peace or plead for an end to world hunger. No one cares about these issues more than the Lord. To bring such concerns to God is a waste of precious minutes.

So how would I spend my five minutes? I would praise Him. I would express my love for Him. I would enjoy His undivided attention for five minutes. As the old gospel hymn says, “That would be glory …… be glory for me.” I would lose myself in God’s glory, love and grace. Five minutes spent like that would feel like an eternity.

I would spend my five minutes with God much like I spend most of my “quiet time” with God each day. I kneel in his presence and bow in awe. I also do my share of confession, petition and intercession. But as I pray those types of prayers, I always feel like they are somewhat unnecessary. God knows what I need - and what others need - before I ask.

God knows the concerns and thankfulness of my heart. It is still important to express my needs and thanks, but I do not have to use many words doing so. As Jesus taught, “When you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”

Most of my prayer time with God is wordlessly opening my heart to joy, awe, and wonder. When I am with God, time stops. Five minutes in God’s presence is an eternity. It is more than enough.

By the way, in the book the rabbi gives away three of his five minutes to those who need them more. You will have to read the book – or at least the epilogue – to see how he uses the other two minutes. (You can read the epilogue for free with the “Search Inside” feature at Amazon: Have a Little Faith: A True Story)

But in the meantime take five minutes now to ask yourself, “How would I spend my five minutes with God?”

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