This morning I began to pray shortly after waking up. Maybe I should say, I tried to pray. There were so many thoughts running through my mind, particularly about work. As I began to worship God, I found myself thinking about email exchanges from yesterday that went late into the night. I started playing office politics in my head. Then I started to worry about my students and their projects. Then… I think you get the picture. In chapter 29, Isaiah speaks out against those who claim to belong to God, but their hearts are elsewhere.
13 And so the Lord says,
“These people say they are mine.
They honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
And their worship of me
is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.
The context here is an extended warning of future disaster to the people of Israel, but I think it also applies to us today. When I find myself so overwhelmed by the cares of the world that I cannot focus on God for even ten minutes, that is a clear indicator of where my heart is – on me and my troubles, rather than on Him and His glory.