I believe that we serve a very patient God – who waits to have our undivided attention when He has something to share. So… if we are busy during the day, it isn’t unusual that God will wait for the quiet of the night to awaken us and commune with us – a time that He doesn’t have to compete with the rigors of our daily lives for time alone with us. Lately, I have been been a little uneasy with all the issues surrounding our friends and family so I should have been expecting an invitation from the Father.
Of course, I pray for people I know who are having health issues or who are struggling with finances or are in some other way needing extra help from God. In fact, I also pray in general for people around the world who are suffering injustice, or natural disasters like the current situation in Turkey and Syria.
But I confess that most of my prayers are “arrow prayers.” They are short missives sent up to God and are usually done in the spur of the moment when something tugs at my heart and I feel inclined to share my concern with the Father. Or… they are during the unscripted quiet times that we have started having at church each Sunday. However, there is no doubt that I could do better with my prayer life. There is so much to be thankful for and while I am incredibly grateful, I don’t express my gratitude as much as I could.
I also teach several Bible studies and so I spend a significant time in preparation and study for the lessons that I am about to teach. Many times, I believe that I get more out of these studies that the audience that I am addressing. Prep time is sacred time and while I feel close to God, it isn’t usually time that I spend in prayer. That time seems to be more centered around learning about God and the lessons that He is trying to teach us through His word. Then I get the privilege of sharing those insights with the people who attend the classes that I teach.
Every once in a while, I am awakened during the night by what I think is the nudging of the Holy Spirit. Last night was one of those evenings. I fell asleep as I usually do but was up around 1:30 am and had a difficult time getting back to sleep. Then, around 4:30 or so, I was awakened again.
This time, I couldn’t ignore that there was something that I was supposed to be doing. It was clearly one of those times when God was waiting for some alone time with me. And it has been a very busy week. I was out of town for several days and when I returned, I was really busy until yesterday. So it stands to reason that last night God would tap me on the shoulder…
As I said earlier, I have been concerned for several friends of mine and a number of things in our family. So I systematically prayed for each person who came to mind. And these weren’t arrow prayers. I asked God for grace, healing, unusual wisdom, discernment and I wasn’t shy about asking for His intervention in all the issues I mentioned.
Kind David reminds us in Psalm 63 that he thought of God through the watches of the night. In fact, that psalm is one of my favorites – this middle of the night time with God wasn’t the first time that this has happened to me. I’m quite familiar with it.
I adopted a real attitude of humility during the night. I implored God to hear my prayer. That’s not something that I usually do, but I was very sincere in my plea. Tonight’s verse is from the psalms. Not the one that I love so much from King David, but one that is just as important. The psalmist tells us, in Psalm 143:1-2, “O LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief. Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.” By the way, I highly recommend that you read the rest of the psalm when you have a moment. It isn’t long and really identifies the way my heart feels.
My encouragement this evening is that God desires time with each of His children. And these unscripted moments with God can be cathartic and affirming, even fulfilling beyond measure. My prayer is that each of us will lift up our concerns to the Father and bask in the divine peace and security that comes from having a deep relationship with Him. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…