A Dime in my Pocket
By Karen Ehman

"Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long.” Psalm 86:3 (NIV)

Do you remember pay phones? My kids are just sure I’m ready for the senior citizen’s discount when they hear me speak of them. But maybe you’re one of my fellow ‘old folks’ and know exactly what I’m talking about. They hung on the walls at restaurants and airports; in shopping malls and at gas stations. When you needed to get a message to someone back home that the ball game was over or the outing was finished, you dug for the dime your mother (being the proper parent she was) always made sure resided in your jean’s pocket. Then you reached for the receiver, slipped your other hand up to the slot, dropped the silver coin in and dialed. Soon help, or a ride, was on the way.

I used my dimes sparingly in the olden days—you know, the 1980’s—reserving them only for completely necessary calls and occasional emergencies. In the course of a month, I resorted to my waiting dime only a time or two. If it was to be used, I wanted to make sure it was really worth it. If not, then it stayed conveniently tucked away in my front pocket, waiting for the day it would be called upon to come and rescue me.

Contrast this with today’s cell phones and some teenagers. Oh dear, at times it appears those electronic contraptions are glued to their ears!!! These kids don’t make a call once or twice a month, but once or twice a minute in some severe cases! They feel free to dial at any time, call at their convenience, and to use their ‘phone a friend’ lifeline at the drop of a hat. Now, least you think this is going to be a devotion that scolds these talkative teens, let me make my point clear. I actually think they are on to something!

Think with me in terms of our relationship with God. I’m afraid that often I am much more like a teen in the 80’s when it comes to calling upon the Lord. I reserve my spiritual dimes for the times I really need Him, making sure it is worth the effort of prayer. (And earnest prayer is sometimes effort, you know!) When I fear I will be spiritually stranded without a ride, feel a bit scared and need someone to rush to my side, or any other such divine emergency, I call upon the Lord. Other times, sadly, I must admit my spiritual cell phone sometimes stays shut.

Instead, my prayer life should emulate the actions of the chatty teens of our current culture. I should feel free to call, text and mobile-to-mobile my Lord about any and everything and, as a result, stay constantly connected to Him throughout the course of my day. I should realize that His line is never busy, His ear never tires and He longs to connect with me more than an occasional time or two a week. I too can call (pray), text (journal), save a message (memorize Scripture) or return a message (praise Him) no matter the time or place! Oh, if only God’s presence in my everyday life became as precious and desired as a teen’s cell phone use addiction!

How about it, fellow phoner? Perhaps this week when we spy a cell phone, let it trigger our memory of today’s key verse. Call upon the Lord. All day long. He will answer every time. No roaming charges, no busy signals and best of all, no dropped calls!

Dear Lord, please forgive me for resorting to prayer only when I need You for something. I resolve now to keep connected with You all through my day. I’ll call upon You in times of need as well as when I just want to thank You or spend time with You. You are my only lifeline. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources
Do You Know Him?

For more thoughts on prayer, visit Karen Ehman’s blog

The Busy Woman’s Guide to Prayer by Cheri Fuller

Application Steps
What other visual reminders can you use to help you build prayer into your day?

What does “praying without ceasing” look like? Why don’t we do this more often?

When do you find yourself most often calling upon the Lord? In good times to praise Him or in bad times to beg Him?

Power Verses
Psalm 17:6, “I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer.” (NIV)

Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (NIV)

I Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (KJV)

© 2008 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This devotional is so clever. I loved it and of course, very helpful. A perfect picture of how our communication with God could be. I believe it will resonate with the teens I know as it has with me. Thank you.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh how at times I long for the days when the call was only a dime. But it reminds me that no matter how much this world we are visiting changes how our Lord never changes - He remains the same each and every day. He is always sitting by His 'phone' waiting to pick up the receiver already knowing what we are calling about.

Blogger Brandi Dabbs said...

This was a fun application step! Other visual reminders that popped into my head: Refrigerator - pray for the hungry and for those who struggle with eating disorders. Someone smiling: praise Him! Shower: pray for spiritual cleanliness (and read Eph 5) and a pure heart. Phone book: Pray that God would bring to mind friends and family who need your intercession. TV: Pray for our nation and the politicians, especially now with voting season upon us! Computer: Pray for our missionaries, and take a second to write an encouraging email to a missionary you might know or your church might sponsor. This was great! Thank you so much!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks so much for using a device that sometimes can be annoying but to allow us to see how God wants to communicate with us daily (24/7) i have always been taught prayer but i long for that daily prayer life, Daniel is the one who comes to mind how he prayed three times a day and Jesus was always praying why shouldn't we. Help us Lord to know we must have that daily relationship with you. Thanks for your devotions they are a blessing.

Blogger eph2810 said...

Oh, Karen, what a wonderful devotion. You are right. Sometimes we only call upon the Lord in need. Thank you for timely reminder to call upon the Lord 24/7 - not only with our needs, but also with praises.

Be blessed today and always...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great illustration. Thank you for painting this picture.

For me, the pay phone was a quarter. Sometimes, many quarters, depending on how far away from home I was! But I never dared NOT calling home!

Again, a powerful reminder. Thank you.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh! what an accurate illustration with the phone usage of yesterday and today. It's so true how we approach God as if we have to save our dimes instead of being reckless as today's teens/sometimes even grownups with cell phones. Thank God for His unlimited mercies and love towards us. Where would we be without God's 'reckless' pursuit of us.
Thanks again, Karen for your vivid illustration

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another parallel with the cell phone: He can always access us, no matter where we are. We don't need to hang around church (the pay phone)to hear from Him. And we don't need to go to the pay phone to talk to Him. We can go anywhere, and He is available to talk to us! And we should always be listening for the ring that lets us know that He is trying to tell us something, and not let it be drowned out by too much noise!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a pleasant trip down memory lane! Because cell phones have made communication so convenient, we’ve made a habit of calling on others for advice. However, if we're careful to call on the Lord first, we'll find that He alone is omnipotent, omniscient, and according to James 1:5, is willing to give us supernatural wisdom, just for the asking.

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