Are Rest and Prayer Really Optional?

America is about progress – we like to work and buy things. Time for rest and prayer is a luxury that we don’t often indulge. There is too much to do and too little time to do it. We over-commit and exhaust ourselves trying to be everything to everyone.

But we can’t keep treating rest and prayer like they are optional! We are being robbed of our peace, and it is time to take a stand.

So here are three great examples of why we should rest more:

1. God Rests – “…and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.” (Genesis 2:2)

We are made in God’s image. When we rest, we are meeting a need that God created us to have. This mention of rest speaks to its importance in our lives.

2. Jesus Rests – How many times does the Bible make a point of telling us that Jesus went off to pray by himself? It seems like every time the disciples turn around, Jesus has disappeared somewhere to spend time alone in prayer.

Jesus worked hard, of course, but He also took time to meet God in the silence. If Jesus, whose mission it was to save the entire world for all eternity, could find time to rest and pray, surely we can too! 

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3. Faithful People Rest – Even the most revered servants of God took time to rest and pray. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta knew that rest and prayer were inseparable from a life of service  when she said, “I don’t think that I could do this work for even one week if I didn’t have four hours of prayer every day.”

To think that we can serve without prayerful rest is like saying we can do it all without God’s help.

We are Christians. We want to serve, and we should serve. But we must also remember that our relationship with God is at the foundation of our service. And if we never pause to nurture that relationship, it will suffer — and eventually so will our service.

“If you don’t have time to pray and read the Scriptures, you are busier than God ever intended you to be.” – Matthew Kelley

So I encourage you this week to take some time for silent prayer and rest with God, even if it is only for a few minutes.

Read scripture. Sit in silence. God is waiting for you.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)

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This post is linked up with my friends at:  Inspire Me Monday, Purposeful Faith, Testimony Tuesday, Coffee for Your Heart, Beloved Brews, Tell His Story, Counting My Blessings, and Friendship Friday.

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37 thoughts on “Are Rest and Prayer Really Optional?

  1. This is a well-spoken message. I believe many of us forget that we, can, in fact, take time off and enjoy the life we’ve been given. Thank you for this gentle but powerful reminder to take time out for rest and prayer.

  2. As I enter into a crazy busy week, this is such a timely reminder for me! I love Psalm 46:10, probably because I feel like God is giving me permission to rest. He is commanding me to BE STILL.

  3. God has been calling me to remember to be silent and listen for Him in my prayer life. (Not just talk to Him all the time.) Your post is yet one more reminder, Jenni. I read a blog post last year outlining the daily schedule of the Sisters of Charity (Mother Teresa) and it was striking how they planned blocks of rest/prayer time during their day. I’m sure that’s the only way they can do what they do.

  4. Thanks for this reminder! Have you ever read “Crazy Busy?” I have heard great things and it addresses this topic as well! Something I always think of when I get to caught up is that the Lord says to fix our eyes on Him. When we’re running around in circles wildly…even with our eyes fixed on Him…our vision gets a little blurry!

    Thanks again for these wise words : )

  5. I have been really challenged recently about sabbath rest and this just speaks straight into that place where God is calling me – thank you for this timely word 🙂

  6. I am in such an upside-down kind of period in my life and this is such a great reminder for me! I need to remember that as the world whirls around me I need just BE STILL. He will handle it. (Visting from Testimony Tuesday)

  7. Sitting alone with him in the early mornings has long been a favorite thing for me. And the times earlier on when I neglected it, my whole life would start to suffer. Being with God sitting still each day is a practice that becomes dearer the more we do it. Thanks, Jen.

  8. I think one of the greatest realizations for me was when it was pointed out that the first whole day Adam spent with the Lord was the day of rest. That is what God created us for – not for work but to fellowship with Him. Resting is a great way to fellowship with God but you are so right, it goes hand in hand with prayer, talking to the Lord and fellowshipping with HIm. Thank you for this great reminder, Jenni!

  9. “Faithful people rest.” Amen. It’s not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. Thanks for encouraging me to not feel guilty about resting.

  10. Ok girl, you’re getting in my business 🙂 This has been on my mind alot recently. When that happens, I know God is trying to tell me something. I needed your words today. Beautiful graphic too!

  11. It always seems when I read these #RaRa posts that there is a common theme. This week it really is about prayer and finding stillness in Him. I love how God uses us as instruments to send out just the right melody to change hearts. Beautiful and so true. Cheering your words and encouragement from the #RaRalinkup on Purposeful Faith

  12. This post is so needed and so very true! I agree totally & at times this is something I struggle with. So happy to find your awesome post at Friendship Friday.

  13. Amen to this: “To think that we can serve without prayerful rest is like saying we can do it all without God’s help.” I cannot do anything without Gods help. Thank God for Jesus!

    Stopping by from Friendship Friday!

  14. In this time or season, I had to stop doing some things. I had to much work, and no time to rest and be in silent for a moment. I’m learning that actually! Waiting on God, resting, praying and having silent moments. Every woman must do this, just for a moment. To take so air and receive the strength to continue.

    I love it!

  15. The image of rest and the reality of rest are not the same but truly choosing prayerful rest is necessary for our relationship with God and others. I’m loving the truth in these words “To think that we can serve without prayerful rest is like saying we can do it all without God’s help”. May we all sit back and spend time in prayerful rest with God as our way of refocusing and restoring all that is needed to serve God more fully. Blessings!

  16. Thank you, Crystal. I agree, it’s definitely something we need to be reminded of often in this go, go, go society! Grateful you stopped by Genuflected.

  17. A command to be still…isn’t it funny how hard it can be to listen and do something so simple sometimes?! Thanks for stopping by Genuflected, Laura.

  18. Yes, it is amazing! Many people would say all that rest and prayer was a waste of time. If you look at it only from a frame of logic, you might think she could have helped more people if she used those 4 hours to be more productive. But in her wisdom, Mother Teresa knew that actually she could help no one without taking that time to pull strength and peace from God. Truly inspirational!

  19. I have not read that book, but it sounds right up my alley! I’ll have to check it out. Thank you!

  20. Yes! How hard it is to hand it all over and be still. But the reward is great. Thanks for stopping by Genuflected, Amy!

  21. I can relate, Jenny! This time of stillness doesn’t come natural. It definitely needs to be an intentional choice. Thanks for stopping by Genuflected!

  22. It’s so true! And on the days when you are tired and tempted to skip it, do you feel Him nudging you out of bed? I think He enjoys the time with us as much as we do with Him, which of course makes sense. We are His beloved!

  23. Can you imagine an entire day walking with God like Adam got to?! Oh but then to have that taken away must have been pure agony for Adam.

  24. I think God is whispering this very message in the hearts of many of his beloved. How great, because we can encourage each other to follow his promptings! Thanks for visiting Genuflected, Abby!

  25. Love it, Carmen! Yes, let’s sing this song of rest and peace to each other. God is definitely trying to tell us something. Grateful for you!

  26. Oh that is so neat, Kelly! I’m so grateful to have found you and all the amazing women at #RaRalinkup so we can sing out our song together!

  27. Amen! It’s a constant struggle, but the reward for rest in Him is so sweet and peaceful! Grateful you stopped by Genuflected today, Sarah. Blessings!

  28. Amen! It’s all Him anyway, and the more we rest in Him the more we can feel that. Grateful for your comment. Thanks for stopping by Genuflected!

  29. Oh yes, it’s so true that sometimes we have to let go of the unnecessary so that we have time for this necessary time with our Lord. Grateful you stopped by Genuflected, Tayrina!

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