Stop the Clocks – Devotional

I pray for the sun to stand still because my “to do” list is too long. I pray for the moon to linger in the sky because my body is too tired. I pray for the clock’s hands to freeze until my spirit has time to process an overwhelming world. I pray for the day to suspend its haste while my mind catches its breath.

And God does not heed my prayers.

Joshua said in the sight of the people, “Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and Moon, in the valley of Aijalon.” And the sun stopped in mid-heaven and did not hurry to set for a whole day. There has been no day like it before or ever since, when God heeded such a prayer—because that day, God was fighting for the people. – Joshua 10:12-14 (abbreviated, adapted) 

In arrogant self-pity, I pout that my prayers must not be good enough for God to answer—as if God is (or should be) as myopically consumed by my needs and grammar as I am. As if the character of my prayers is the problem at hand, rather than the character of the clocks I follow.

My “to do” list is a timecard that I punch to measure each day’s value on the clock of productivity. My body’s endurance competes against the stopwatch of age and expectation. My spirit and mind glance anxiously at the draining hourglass of perfection.

These are not measures of time that the Almighty heeds. Internalized capitalism, marketable beauty, and mass production are not causes for which the Holy One sets aside time to fight.

…or so I remind myself when the “to do” list is unfinished, when a completed project still has flaws, or when the day is too high a mountain to climb. I’m still praying to believe it.


Have mercy, O God, and relieve my inner critic of its micromanagement. Free me from the clocks that consume. Break open my heart to fall in love with the rhythms of sun and moon.

About the Author

Rachel Hackenberg serves on the national staff for the United Church of Christ. She is the author of Writing to God and the co-author of Denial Is My Spiritual Practice, among other titles. Her blog is Faith and Water.