Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mind your Ps and Qs while Sheltering

You may pray for an hour and still not pray. You may meet God for a moment and then be in touch with Him all day. --Fredrik Wisloff

Has anyone ever told you to mind your Ps and Qs? I tried to find its origin but there are varied stories. One source claimed  the saying began at the print shop. Back in the early days of printing presses, each line of text had to be set up one letter at a time. Since the letters in the press were reversed (so they'd print forward), the set-up printer needed to be careful not to confuse one letter for the other.  So reminding someone to "watch his p's and q's" meant to pay attention to the details.

The meaning I've heard has been common in post-victorian Britain as an abbreviation of to mind your manners or, more specifically, to say both please (Ps) and thank you (thank-Q). The phrase watch your Ps and Qs has been in use to encourage people to speak politely, especially children, who remember such phrases better than just instructions.

Another story said the phrase originated in old England. The pubs served their beer and ale in pints and quarts. As there was no legal limit or anything like that, the men in the pubs often got rowdy, belligerent, or started fights. The bar tender would often have to shout over the chaos, "Mind your pints and quarts" meaning don't slosh them around and spill them. It was a reprimand for rowdy behavior: Mind your Ps and Qs.

Upon  discovering  such varying explanations for "minding your Ps and Qs," I wondered if it gave me permission to make up my own story.  I think mine would include Blood Mary and her hatred for Christians.  As a way to encourage each other to keep their faith, Christians would remind their friends to "mind their Ps and Qs" --  their prayers and quiet time.

While that wouldn't pass an historian's test, it's something we should adopt to remind ourselves and others of the importance of prayer.  Most of us have had trouble at some time or another maintaining a consistent prayer life.  If we could just catch a small glimpse of prayer -- the act of opening our life to Him. God desires a relationship with us -- a relationship that includes us talking to Him. F. B. Myers said "The great tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer."

I do think our prayer life goes through varying stages. It's a learning process.  At times we will become distracted.  Some seasons are filled with young children and you will need to plan a specific plan for prayer.  The season of life I am in right now leaves me alone for hours each day.  I find myself praying all throughout the day.  A message pops up on my facebook and I can pray immediately.  When a prayer chain e-mail regarding a need in my church family shows up in my inbox -- not only can I pray immediately, I can stop and pray each time the need comes to mind.

The spiritual discipline of prayer is so much more than just bringing needs to God.  It's sharing and praising and feeling God's love envelop me.  As we pray we are moved deeper into the things of God.  It changes us.

One of the blessings of prayer for me is praise.  I love praising my Heavenly Father.  I can do this while reading praise Scriptures, acknowledging a blessing or choosing an attribute of God on which to focus my thankfulness.  The Psalmist told God, "Seven times a day do I praise you."  As I articulate praise I find more to praise God for.  It's never ending.

And then the privilege I have of sharing my needs, the cares of my friends and even my dreams, with the One who instructed me to cast all our cares on Him.  Why?  Because God cares for me!

I always think of Leonard Tincher as a reminder of a man of prayer.  His favorite verse was:

Let us therefore come boldly unto
the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy,
and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

When he was having a knee replacement the doctors said Leonard Tincher's knees were calloused like camel's knees due to the amount of time he spent in prayer.  My knees might not have callouses but I hope my heart bears the marks of where I've bowed before the throne.

Develop a prayer life that fits into your current season.  Approach God boldly in the name of His Son, Jesus.  Praise Him for joy, His wisdom,  and grace.  Your sheltering will find new life as you mind your Ps and Qs.

* * * * *

Bean Bag Fun

I love this book by Keith Baker. The peas are human like -- just a fun way to teach the alphabet or share some giggles.

I made bean bags with alphabet material.  Here are a few games to play with bean bags.  I copied them to cardstock and made a bookmark. Laminate it -- it will be more durable.

Throw a beanbag in the air, touch your toes turn, and catch it again.

Throw the beanbag in the air, clap your hands once, and catch it. Now try clapping your hands twice.  Can you clap three times, too?

Do the same sequence except jump instead of clap.  

Try catching the beanbag with the opposite hand than you are used to catching with.

Close your eyes and try to catch the beanbag.

Throw the beanbag to a friend and see how many times you can catch it before it drops.

See how far you can throw the beanbag.



My daily walk in His grace! said...

Hi Pamela - I love how you say - you hope your heart has callouses. My heart needs to be on its knees more.
Lovely post
God bless


I like the thought of developing a prayer life that matches the season of your life. I have a lot of time in my life right now . . . hmmmmm.


Patti Hanan said...

I had never heard of Leonard Tincher, but now I'm interested in finding out more about him. What a testimony! I am also in a season where I have more time for prayer. Prayer changes things and deepens our walk with God. Thank you for the encouraging words.

Marisa and Brittany said...

It is so easy to become distracted with all of the clutter satan scatters along our path. I'm often reminded of the book "To Busy Not to Pray." When our lives become so hectic, we all the more need God's wisdom, discernment, guidance, direction, order, and structure. I try to incorporate prayer and meditation at the end of my yoga routines. This seems to be a perfect time when I'm peaceful and prepared to absorb what God has to share with me that day.

Thanks so much for this encouraging message!


Jen said...

I am getting to the point where I am cherishing my quiet time. Even in my daily quiet bible reading, I find myself not just trying to check off the day of reading, but really seeking God for illumination about the scriptures. It has moved from being a duty to a delight.

Anonymous said...

I love the history of the saying "Mind your P's and Q's." How interesting! Great reminder to not neglect the great privilege of time with the Lord. Thanks for this post.

Fresh Garden said...

Thanks, Pam!

Elisa said...

thank you very much for blessing me today. I will never forget my prayers and quiet time. Our prayers to the Lord will always be a work in progress.. Admittedly sometimes I am distracted.. and I want to praise Him all day long not only praying for my needs. Thanks for your inspiration. God bless you!

Ivy and Elephants said...

Thanks for the inspiring words, as I start my day I will try to hold them in my heart and remember to turn to Him always. Thanks for visiting us and entering our give away, your answer gave me a chuckle.
Best of luck,

Karima said...

Hi from your newest google friend follower, I had never given much thought to the background of the phrase mind your p's and q's, quite interesting post! Karima x www.karimascrafts.com

Shore Girl said...

Your opening quote is so true -- and the quote by John Bunyan is a good one too! How often I've said "I'm not interested in religion, but rather a relationship!"

Amber said...

I love that I can be in constant conversation with God throughout my day. And, honestly, most days I am because I've come to the conclusion that I need to stay focused on Him in order to stay focused on the important things in life.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hi Pamela,

What a wonderful post (and so is the one below about the spinach smoothie!).

I have been a pray throughout the day kind of girl, but I really don't read my Bible as I should. Thanks for the reminder and for being such a blessing to us all.

I hope that you have a wonderful week,

Kathy M.

Justine said...

Awesome bean bag idea! The kids at the daycare I work at would love that. :) Also thanks for stopping by my blog, Pamela! You have a new follower! I love the family concept of your blog!

no spring chicken said...

Again Pamela, I'm blessed by your encouraging thoughts and your creative idea.

I love the idea of the laminated instructions with the beanbags. I have a 5 year old nephew and a 3 year old niece that are just going to love this!!

Blessings, Debbie

Sharon said...

I found this so very interesting. I have been told to "mind my P's and Q's" - and it was fun learning a bit about the origin of the phrase. I love hearing about word origins.

And I so appreciated what you had to say about prayer. I am still learning how to widen and deepen my prayer life. And I think you have brought up very important thoughts. For one, praise is such a necessary ingredient - and sometimes I rush into my needs before I just take the time to tell God how wonderful I think He is.

Thanks for the reminder.

Maybe as I pray I should START with my P's - praise - and END with my Q's - questions, requests!


A Joyful Noise said...

I believe I like your version of the Ps and Qs story the best.

Praying without ceasing is what you are doing as you consider a request and immediately take it to the throne. Lovely Post!

LeAnn said...

I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on this post. I think prayer is so important in our live. I too find myself praying during the day and often when driving. I like the idea of Prayer and Quiet. Great information on P's and Q's.
I do feel that offering graditude to our Heavenly Father everyday for his blessings to us is very important.
Loved this post and blessings to you!

Aliene said...

I love the Prayer and Quite time.
Best I've heard. When my husband worked for A&P they used the P's and Q's as Price and Quality.

Guess there are a lot of sayings.

Joan said...

I like this, Pamela--"Prayers and Quiet Time."


Judy said...

Hi Pamela,

You are so right. I'm in a new season of prayer myself. Iove that scripture from Hebrews. God is always there for us in our time of need for mercy and grace.


Natasha in Oz said...

That was a very interesting post. I will have to share this with my mum!

Take care and best wishes for a great weekend!

Kaye Swain - SandwichINK for Grandparents and Caregivers said...

What an interesting post. I'd never heard of any of those reasons, and I love word plays AND word meanings so it was quite interesting. LOVED the quote at the beginning by Fredrik Wisloff and the story about Leonard Tincher. And what a fun bean bag game. My grandkids are begging for new projects. I think I may have them make their own and try these games. Thanks for some fun ideas and easy crafts for kids and us seniors who will be helping them. :)

Anonymous said...

My sweet, dear sister in Christ - you so "hit the nail on the head." I have gone through those same seasons of prayer - and now prayer has become my life line, my joy, my time of being enveloped in His love ~ you are so right on!!! I just love your soul ~ and the love and light God has filled you with! You shine the depths of Jesus ~ what a beautiful masterpiece He has made of you!! I feel so fortunate our paths crossed and that the Lord led me to your blog!!! What a tremendous blessing!!!!:>)

Charlotte said...

Thank you for your insight on prayer. I believe with all my heart that prayer does indeed change things. What a privilege God gave us to come before His throne and speak...and be heard by the creator of the universe!