The Practical Disciple -

Lenten Devotional, Day 23, How to Stay Focused in Prayer (episode 83)

Staying focused is the number one problem people share with me regarding prayer. And, intrusive thoughts have definitely been my biggest enemy during my Lenten devotional practice of praying and meditating for fifteen minutes every day in nature.  I’ve been trying to capture in my observation log when my mind wanders off. Same days are much worse than others. Here’s what I’ve noticed.

1. The more tired I am, the more my mind wanders.This is not the least bit surprising, but it does raise the stakes on my need to work on getting better sleep.
2. My most common intrusive thoughts are: Pre-thinking upcoming conversations in my head, particularly, if I am concerned about how the conversation will go. Slipping off into

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Lenten Devotional, Day 22, Unnecessary Competition (episode 82)


Today, I did my sit spot time in my daughter’s yard because I was out of town. I had a very difficult time settling in and being present. Mainly, I struggled because of a poor night of sleep the night prior. I have long-standing issues with getting to bed early.  As I struggled to focus this morning, I couldn’t help but notice that she has several trees incased in Virginia Creeper. If you aren’t familiar with this plant, it is a sprawling, five-leafed vine that loves to climb trees.

I was curious if Virginia Creeper, can kill a tree. So, I did some research. What I discovered is that this vine can indeed kill a tree,

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Lenten Devotional, Day 21, Solitude and My Prayer Closet (episode 81)

My discipline of sitting outside alone has reawakened the need in me for solitude.  Also, meditating outdoors has reminded me of the tremendous benefits of solitude. I will actually be preaching about this on Sunday as a continuation of a series I am doing on spiritual disciplines. The book, Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster, is the primary resource I am drawing open for this series. I selected solitude as a topic because this discipline is desperately needed and misunderstood.

We live in a culture where we are constantly bombarded with inputs. Smart phones make us constantly interruptible. We live on demand. And frankly, many of us are addicted to that input.

A Virgin Mobile study revealed that smart phone

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Lenten Devotional, Day 20, Holy Expectancy, (episode 80)

I discovered two house finch eggs today. About a week ago, I noticed a male and female house finch building a nest above a light fixture on the outside of our garage. I’ve been checking it periodically for eggs, and woohoo, discovered two today.

I’m not sure when those eggs were laid because I had not checked the nest since mid last week. However, Friday, I was working near the nest and the momma and daddy were extremely protective. I’m guessing the eggs had been laid.

The promise of new life is so exciting. We have a couple in our church for

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Lenten Devotional, Day 19, Overnight Success, (episode 79)

I usually go to my sit spot in the morning. But, today I waited until the end of the day. There is a completely different energy sitting in your backyard at 10:30 pm in the cover of night than during the emerging brightness of a new day. At night there’s often not a single bird song or flash of feathers, to fill the time. No squirrels playing. Just quiet. Distant cars. A few neighbor’l ks central air units kicking on. An occasional car on a side street, but otherwise, sitting at night is seemingly uneventful.

I noticed though something new. Like tiny quills on the back of a porcupine, the flower bed about our Tulip trees is just beginning to

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Lenten Devotional, Day 18, Renegotiating Commitments (episode 78)

So, I have been feeling overwhelmed lately and struggling with how to get a post and podcast out to you daily. I have stayed true to getting in my sit spot, but the last week was very tough in terms of getting something out without compromising health or other ministry. I had three nights of going to bed after 3 a.m. It was about to where me down. If you have been following this then you know Saturday night , this finally caught up with me and I gave myself grace to come up with a post the next day.

I gave myself grace again last night because I still wasn’t and am not fully recuperated. I was literally falling a

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