True Leisure

By Keiko Chibana-Shinn | Rediscovering Prayer

He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. Ps. 23:2

Prayer is our entry point into divine rest. It’s a common struggle for the human condition to battle with ups and downs, fluctuating emotions, and fatigue. Therefore, rest is so important for the human body, mind, and spirit. The term “holy leisure” is very different from the Western concept of leisure. Leisure as we commonly refer to it is confined to a single part of life rather than a lifestyle” (1). True leisure is best defined within the context of a vibrant lifestyle of prayer:

“It is an attitude of receptivity to the transforming work of the Holy Spirit that embraces the whole of life, not just the time off from work. It is living confidently in a restful way, committing all of one’s life to the care of God and submitting unreservedly to the Divine will. Body, mind, and spirit are peacefully integrated in a life of obedience.” – Charles W. Nienkirchen

Life without prayer is like living in a world with minimal oxygen. You have just enough to get through the day. It’s like spastic slots of time weaving in and out of control and consequently making life as you know it an unruly mess; void of the clarity needed to align a straight path before you. We were never wired to control time but rather to submit to it and simply breathe it in like air (2). When we embrace the present time with hearts wide open for authentic communion with God, we gain the ability to properly engage and enjoy life. Each day is received as a gift from God rather than a burden. Our Father’s mercies and compassion are new every morning. Let us be reminded daily that we can boldly come before the throne of grace because the Spirit helps us in our weakness.

The Word of God says “… there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Ro.8:1).” Our ability to offer our attention to prayer requires freedom from bondage to yesterday and from fear of tomorrow. Let us live in the now (3). Today we have the freedom to confidently call upon our Father who is ready to speak and empower us to move forward for the day ahead. He knows what we are in need of before we even ask Him but there are moments in life where we can easily feel overwhelmed, drowning in a sea of worries, flustered in times of confusion and in a season of turbulence.

However, God is not weak in His ability to guide you. May the current of His love overtake you. Allow the rhythms of divine rest in the Holy Spirit be experienced in your day-to-day as He orients you into His presence. Be still and know He is God. In your weakness, His strength will arise. Surrender your heart and lift up holy hands to the one who has called you out of the darkness and into His light. No evil will conquer you. Just as light shines out of darkness so does His perfection manifest in your weakness. He is faithful to do it. Praise him in the waiting,  boast in your weaknesses that you may rest in His strength. Declare by faith that the chains are broken and that healing is yours. Jesus already won the war, enjoy His peace because He gave His life as ransom for yours. Don’t resist the rest Jesus alone can offer. Enjoy true leisure today!

Prayer: Lord, teach me to trust in the mighty name of Jesus. I come with expectancy before your throne. I want to rest in You like never before. Guide me into Your safe pastures that I may gain newness of life and walk confidently by your Word and Spirit. Take the burdens of yesterday and the worries of tomorrow that I may receive this new day as a gift from You. Thank you for the freedom you give to experience Your divine rest today. Amen.

Additional Verses: La. 3:22-23; Heb. 4:16; Ro. 8:26; Matt. 8:6; 2 Cor. 13:3; Gal. 5:22; Ps. 46:10; 1 Ti. 2:8; 1 Pe. 2:9; Ps. 91:10; 2 Cor. 4:6; 2 Chr. 20:17; Mk. 10:45

1 – Palmer, Michael D., and Stanley M. Horton. 1998. Elements of a Christian worldview. Springfield, MO : Logion Press, 1998, 248.”

2 – Allender, Dan B. Sabbath. Thomas Nelson: Tennessee, 2009, 50.”

3 –  Bass, Dorothy. Receiving the Day: Christian Practices for Opening the Gift of Time. Jossey-Bass: CA. 2000, 20.”