I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but there’s just no such thing as an “evergreen” tree. I used to think there was, but now I know better. Trees with “needles” and cones – the coniferous ones – they still turn brown, and one look at my back yard will tell you they fall too. Even worse, they don’t just fall in Autumn like every other perfectly respectable tree (of the deciduous ilk) – they fall all the time! Not all at once, but gradually. Which to me is very, extremely, disturbingly, frustratingly, relentlessly annoying. But effective – they consistently cover ground.
I was chatting with a visitor in the office the other day when we ‘stumbled’ onto the topic of prayer. It’s important to note this individual seems to have the gift of intercession… so I suppose it wasn’t too surprising we ended up talking about it (If you have that gift, or know someone who does, you’ll understand). Either way, he made a comment in passing that startled me. “Most people think,” he said, “that to be a real ‘prayer warrior,’ to be a legitimate intercessor, one has to spend hours before God on their knees in uninterrupted prayer. And sometimes that’s true. But for me,” he observed, “I found I had to start somewhere or I’d just never pray… so I started with ‘pine-needle prayers.’ Here a little, there a little, while I’m driving, while I’m walking, while I’m eating or falling asleep. I just say short prayers when something comes to mind and move on.” I was sitting very still, thoroughly enjoying the mental imagery of his analogy, when he hit me with the cherry on top. “The thing of it is – I found that once you get into the habit of saying those pine needle prayers, they just have this odd tendency to gradually start blooming into longer times of prayer on their own… into ‘broad-leaf’ prayers!” I love it when God hijacks a conversation.
Does prayer intimidate you? Have you been avoiding it because you think you have to have a special gift to do it, or because you’ve got some mental image of a guy with a shaved head and a burlap robe on his knees for hours on end in a dark room with a stone floor? Prayer is your life-line to God. It’s your free instant messaging system. Along with your Bible, prayer is what magnetizes the compass needle of your soul, realigning your life to the one ‘true North’ that is Jesus. Don’t get hung up about dropping to your knees -- just drop some pine needle prayers. They’ll change not just you, but the world around you as well.