My prayer routine has fallen into total disarray over the last two weeks. We had new flooring installed in our main level. I don’t work well with other people in the house, let alone people using nail guns, an air compressor, and mallets to lay hardwood floors. Worse, the days when the sanding/staining crew were there, I’d have been trapped upstairs for seven hours while the polyurethane dried enough to be able to walk on it. So every morning I left the house at 8 a.m. and didn’t go home again until at least 5 p.m., later on the staining days.

Experienced meditators and people of prayer can meditate anywhere. I wasn’t able to pull this off that week, or the next week, when I was in New York City on business Monday through Friday. I shared a West Village apartment with two other writers, and while I did manage to read the Hark! Advent devotional each day, praying wasn’t really possible when living with two other people equally preoccupied with the changes in the publishing industry. Plus – NEW YORK CITY! I was out the door at seven and not home until eleven every night.

The interesting thing about this total disconnect from my regular prayer routine is that even when I wasn’t doing my bit, God was doing God’s bit. Me being caught up in the flow of daily life didn’t stop God from working in my life. This is an excellent reminder that as important as it is to sit down every morning with my Bible and my palm cross and my earnest intentions, new shifts and directions come on God’s time, not mine.

That’s my Advent lesson this year, that waiting (preferably patiently but impatiently will also pass the time) is where I find the meaning. The moments of awareness that come with a new relationship or a new project are thin, exciting slices of time compared to the long stretches of waiting. But prayer is essential to receive those moments. Prayer prepares my heart for each shift, and strengthens the connection I need in order to be ready for that shift. I don’t think I would have known what I was receiving and what it meant to my journey if I hadn’t spent the previous months tuning my ear.

I’m home in a house that reeks less each day of polyurethane, and back in my daily prayer and writing routine. While I wish Advent 2012 was less hectic than it is, each day my faith increases that no matter how busy I am, God is also busy, also working, also waiting for the right moment to arise to open the door to the new.

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