Pausing to Praise

“Jacob looked down his path as if it were the current of a great river As he stared into the flow he saw the seemingly unending line of moments given to him. Then like a man marking a trail, he began to put his prayer between the moments, making the common profound by pausing.” ~Jacob’s Journey by Noah BenShea.

I first read this passage in a devotion book by Ken Gire many years ago, and even today, the statement, “…making the common profound by pausing” still impacts my life. It inspired me to name my site pausing to praise because I have found it is in the pausing that we really live, and it is in the pausing that we become aware of God’s presence in our lives. But it is not only in the pausing, it is also in the praise. When I read the passage above, I want to add two words so that it reads “…he began to put his prayer of praise between the moments,…” God may be ever present in our lives and all of creation may be continually declaring his glory, but it seems we must pause to attune our hearts to listen. When we pause and consider all that fills each moment beneath the chaos of our busyness, how can our hearts be filled with anything but praise?

As I was rebuilding this website and trying to design a new banner, I didn’t really know what I wanted until my son took this picture of me looking into the sunset. This picture captures both my heart and my actions through many seasons of my life. What you don’t see – but what I am reminded of – is me frantically working while nervously glancing out the window hoping to wrap up my day in time to enjoy a cup of hot tea as I watch the sunset. However, seldom have I ever been able to wrap up my day before sunset – in any season of my life. So I have had to learn to pause and thank the Lord for just ten minutes to behold the beauty of His glorious creation. And after many years of practice, I am often pausing to thank my precious Lord for two minutes to enjoy the sunrise or for five minutes to enjoy the sweet voice of a friend or for 30 seconds to watch a tiny horned toad scramble through the grass or for just a few seconds of a birds song as I hurry by on dusty roads.

It is in both pausing and praising that precious memories are forever embedded upon our hearts and the intertwining of the past with the present weaves upon our soul a rich tapestry of grace. Even in the most difficult moments of my life, when I stilled my heart before God, I found grace and peace there in abundance. Life is meant to be lived, not in the bustle of daily life that leaves us gasping for breath, but in the pauses that take our breath away and fill our hearts to overflowing with praise. And so, amid this busy season in my life, I am reminding myself to pause and ‘put my prayer of praise between the moments.’