I have attended two conferences organized by John Arnott, on whose beat the hugely influential Toronto Revival was born. They have influenced the course of my life—deeply introducing me the love of the Father; immersing me in soaking prayer ; and, most recently, introducing me to a ten minute worship timer.
A worship timer?
Carol Arnott was incurably ill, and went to the Community without Walls in Germany, where Rolland Baker was healed of dementia and cerebral malaria.
There Dr. Arne Elsen suggested the 10 minute worship revolution, using a timer or a buzzer which goes off every ten minutes, when you stop everything and worship. He cures five terminally ill patients, mainly cancer patients a week, through this infusion of positivity, joy, thankfulness, worship and praise.
Well, I was interested. I have seen 3-4 people bedbound with ME, who have been cured by stopping spiralling negative thoughts (I am too ill to do this—talking will tire me—walking will exhaust me etc.) and exchanging them with positive self-talk through the Lightning Process (a highly effective neuro-linguistic programming course, which I haven’t been on. Not religious as far as I know. )
So, this every ten-minute worship really should bring an infusion of the positive thinking which is a neglected aspect of Jesus’ teaching, not to mention joy and praisefulness (both things I have sought) into one’s day to day life.
Zoe and I bought one the day we heard of it. I adore it and have used it every day for the last two weeks.
It’s will probably take 3 weeks to fully get into the habit of it, and for new neural pathways to be created. And I will report on any changes in my temperament and emotional state in about six months.
But the first two weeks (which is about how long it takes to get the hang of it, and to begin reaping the benefits, according to successful users) have been peaceful and happy. I don’t know how I will be able to live without it. If I turn it off for a nap or while having coffee with a friend, and then forget to switch it back, something feels wrong. I am less productive, time seems more lumpy and stolid instead of flowing in a grace-infused stream.
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So here’s my experience. I haven’t been using it exclusively to worship, though, increasingly, that is what I am doing every ten minutes.
I usually stop when my ten minute timer goes, and thank God for something. Often something I may not have otherwise thanked God for. New people following my blog on Facebook or Google Friend Connect. The blog’s growth. The success of my children. The sweetness of Roy. The glory of my dog, and ducks and rabbits (okay, I adore animals!!). Blue skies. The orchids in the room. Time to pray. To read. To study the Bible. To write. Gratitude that earning a living is not all-consuming, but leaves us time to be organised and peaceful and quiet.
And my mental state slowly changes through this discipline of praise every ten minutes. Becomes more positive, more ebullient.
2) My Use of Time Significantly Improves
I have never worked full-time, and have worked part-time for about 3 years, teaching at Ohio State University, Binghamton University, and William and Mary, as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, and Adjunct Professor variously.
So my work habits have really been those of a dreamy, dilatory, distractible writer than a professional.
But, my goodness, this timer really helps. So, I am reading articles in the New York Times or the Guardian. But really should be writing. The buzzer goes; I worship. And, if by the time the buzzer goes again, I am still dilly-dallying, well then, I know something is seriously wrong, and settle down to work.
Yeah, you just can’t procrastinate and waste time that much when you are going to pray every ten minutes!!
It keeps me on track—with what I intend to do, what I have done, what I am going to do that day. Sort of gets me back into the river of surrender and discipline.
3) It keeps me positive. Roy, who is used to, and loves, working for hours with intense concentration was appalled at the thought of being interrupted every ten minutes.
However, once, when I was telling him off (very gently, and most justifiably:-), he burst into a huge grin. “Now you will never be annoyed with me for more than ten minutes at a time,” he said. Yeah, it’s very annoying when you are telling someone off and timer goes off telling you it’s time to worship God, and you have to drop your moaning. And praise God!!
Seriously though, the first few days, my timer often caught me thinking something negative about something or someone, and instead I found something to be thankful for in that person or situation.
The second week, it’s been rarer to be caught out thinking negatively by my timer. It is truly beginning to change the tenor of my emotional life.
4) Impact on Family Life
We have long, leisurely family meals, which last nearly an hour. And the buzzer goes off several times during dinner. And we all go round the table and thank God for one thing we are grateful for.
And of course, consciously expressing gratitude makes you more grateful.
5) Praying in Tongues adds a depth to one’s prayer life, especially in areas in which one may not quite understand why one is stymied, or what or how one should pray. I usually pray in tongues haphazardly, when my heart is full, though I do so most days. Now I have a little slot for it.
6) Prayer to be filled with the Spirit is a prayer which is always answered (Luke 11:13). And to be filled with the Spirit is one of the desires of my heart—both to experience the joy and wisdom of the filling, and to be able to bless people from the overflow of God’s life in me. My timer reminds me to pray for this.
7) Awareness of God’s Presence. Again, using the worship timer helps me to be more aware of the presence of Christ, right here in the room with me, and in his hands a stream of bubbling waters which he offers to anyone who is thirsty and comes to him to drink.
Praying briefly every ten minutes incorporates prayer into the rhythms of my real and emotional life. I find that I am frequently living and working in an ambient state of praise and prayer, coming a tiny step closer to the injunction to pray continuously.
8) Worship is a weaker element of my spiritual life. I need the tides of communal worship to really lift my spirits into self-forgetful worship. I haven’t practised worshiping alone that much. So the worship timer is introducing this neglected dimension into my prayer life.
9) Visualization—Praying every ten minutes is a rich practice. Sometimes, I just relax and visualize. Me dancing with Jesus. Jesus breathing the Holy Spirit on me. (John 20:22). Me dancing in the waterfall of God’s presence and power and creativity.
10) Big Asks—I am using this exercise to be thankful, praiseful and to worship, to just love God and be, rather than for big-wrestling change-my-life kind of prayer. But if I am conscious of a need as my buzzer goes—I am stuck with my writing; worried about a kid, I send up celestial smoke signals, of course. Please help.
Incorporating it into work and exercise—If the buzzer goes off while I am reading or writing, which I often am, I pause, thank, praise, pray, and resume. If it goes off while I am walking and listening to a novel, or an easy theological book, rather than search through all my pockets for my iPhone, pause it, pray, then rewind to get into the flow, I simply multitask, and silently thank God for the book, the glory of the day and the fields around us, while the narrator continues reading me the book.
Yeah, so I am happier, more on track, more peaceful since I started using the ten minute worship timer. I recommend it.
(And here’s the link to Catch the Fire timer I use.)