Pray, Prayers, Praying, Prayed.
I was curious to see how many times those words appear in the ESV Bible. In case you’re wondering, they appear 290 times in 278 verses.
I would say that the Lord has put quite the emphasis on prayer or He would not have wanted it in the Bible that many times.
I’ll be honest with you – it used to be a struggle for me to pray. The enemy filled my head with lies:
“You’re not a great speaker, how can you pray to God?”
“You aren’t a scholar – you don’t even know where Habakkuk is in the Bible, how can you pray to God?”
“You’re a mom of young children, get some sleep! There is no need to get up early and pray.” This was the main excuse that I used every single morning…
until the day that I read Mark 1:35.
Our Savior, who stepped off of His heavenly throne to redeem us from our sins, got up early and went to a quiet place to pray.
“Well, that’s easy for Him, He’s the Son of God!” I thought to myself.
What I failed to notice were the verses before Mark 1:35. In one day’s work (on the Sabbath, no less!); Jesus taught in the synagogue, healed a man from an unclean spirit, rebuked that unclean spirit, healed Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, and had the citizens of Capernaum gather at the house that He was staying at and bringing to Him, their sick, diseased, and demon-possessed for healing.
Whoa! Just reading that makes me tired. I cannot imagine how Jesus felt physically and mentally. He must have been exhausted and worn out, and yet He got up the next morning while it was still dark out and prayed.
If Jesus can get up that early, then why can’t I?
It was then that I realized that I needed to submit to the Lord and begin a prayer time – a time when the house was quiet and before everyone got up. I wanted to dedicate an hour to Him, and since Craig gets up at 6:00 AM – that would be 5:00 AM in the morning.
5:00 AM! Lord, how am I going to do this?!?!
With a whole lotta Jesus and a whole lotta coffee, that’s how!
It turns out when you mention to the Lord that you are going to commit an hour of your day to Him beginning at five in the morning, He makes sure that you’re up by 4:45.
I wish I could tell you that every morning I get up refreshed and ready for my time with the Lord.
There have been mornings when I have fallen back asleep. Mornings when I got up begrudgingly, if only to check that hour off of my to-do-list. Mornings when I sat in silence, because I didn’t know what to say.
Those mornings pale in comparison to the mornings when I’ve been rocked by the Lord! Through the tears of joy over answered prayers and the tears of sorrow of unanswered prayers, I have grown in my relationship with Jesus. The good, the bad, and the ugly come out between the hours of 5 to 6 AM!
My Challenge to You
I’m writing this post not to brag about my quiet time, but to encourage and challenge you to create a time of prayer for yourself. Five o’clock in the morning may not work for you (there are times when it doesn’t even work for me!), so pick a time that is reasonable for you. Maybe you are a late-nighter, and that’s when you can dedicate time to the Lord. Maybe it’s during your lunch hour, or maybe it’s in the school parking lot as you wait to pick your child up from school. Whenever it is, just do it! You don’t need to be the perfect speaker or have the whole Bible memorized – the Lord will hear you no matter what. You don’t even need to use “Christianese words,” just talk to Him like He is your best friend, because He is.
Jesus stepped off of His heavenly throne, became a man, suffered an unimaginable death, rose from the dead, and ascended into Heaven for you and me. If He can do that for us, the least we can do is at least spend some uninterrupted time with Him.
If your up for this challenge, please know I am praying for you! If you happen to be up between 5 and 6 am, send me a message, and we can pray together!