So, at the beginning of the semester I had determined to undertake this process of making my days start and end with prayer to God. It was a glorious idea perfectly framing in my opinion my days borrowed from God. The Omega part of those days has worked itself out somewhat well…although there is still something to be desired in terms of it being all 7 days, but I’m working on that with Him. The Alpha aspect to that venture…hmm…well, it’s been interesting to say the least. I had a stretch where I was getting up every morning except for Saturday mornings at 5:00AM on the dot, in prayer and soon after that hour on my way to the gym to listen to sermons and music via I-Pod…but something about that before-the-world-seems-to-wake-vantage seems, at least to me, to almost have mystical properties.
When reading about the Desert Fathers and Mothers of the faith, I’ve found that they often called the early hours of the morning their own…praying for themselves, and for all the world that still had yet to even wake. Jesus did the morning prayers…but then again his 3-time-a-day-plus regimen would befuddle us where we stood if we tried to overnight own such a prayer life. But, in that same breath…I think we all too often over here in America assume that we can take the “unceasing prayer” passage and run with it, literally. We can very easily be found making Jesus into all the sacredness of a nutri-grain bar if we’re not careful.
I think it’s great to commune with God unceasingly…it’s my most dominant mode of talking with Him, quite simply because it’s the one that comes with the most abundance of opportunity, but even still, I like living with Him in me andalongside me, moment in and moment out. But still, there is something very dear to me about the idea that Deidrich Bonhoeffer, a great German theologian noted for his brilliant faith that led to his martyrdom as he defied Hitler…he said, “I will not give to my Lord God that which costs me nothing.” Immediately upon reading this quote I had a fellow Seminary student say to me, “But not everything costs something to me.” To which I said, “But that does not mean it comes without a price, we just fail to recognize it and make it our own.” Carting God around with you and constantly walking through your day-to-day with Him is costly, not because it’s necessarily always difficult to do so, but because if you truly endear Him access to your heart 24/7, even committing your dreams into His hands (a very fun prayer) then you will feel a void, an emptiness and a sense of longing the moment or moments when you try to turn the Spirit off inside you, or neglect it. It will rise and well in you like a poison and prayerfully you will feel the costof not having that nutri-gain, everywhere-you-go time be with Him.
So, consider the gift this summer season to your God and to your walk to be one of devoted set-aside times of prayer…not just the unceasing one and a quick hello and good night at the end and beginning of your day. What truly prompted this blog was further still a lesson clinging on to the truth of the Alpha and Omega prayers (morning and night/beginning and end of your day). I really want to capture mornings for my God so we can spend them like the Saints of old…praying with only the saluting song birds stirring. I realized that even with dear effort, this was never going to find consistency unless it was given preparation…just like everything else.
So, I am undertaking and re-instituting an old custom…one which many of us embraced for many years when we were younger…bedtime. I remember when I would eat say around 6:30, usually at the latest, and then maybe get to play for a half hour before it was just understood, even if whined about, that it was time to get cleaned up and into bed. Remember when we were all asleep before 9:00PM? How glorious could this be yet again. To have the energy of a little kid, only now as a big kid, literally yanking the covers off of us at 6:00AM or earlier…not because we can’t sleep…but because we already did sleep!
Good Lord…how I would love that feeling again! And so, that is my mission. In bed before 9:00PM every night. Haha, I’m gonna fail at this I can already tell, but hopefully just sporadically. I wager that many of our sleep patterns have become so desensitized to the coming of night that if I were to challenge most of you to a 10:30PM bedtime many would fail consistently. I understand that kids change things a lot and that perhaps the hours nearing midnight are the only quiet sane ones for you and your Lover…in which case, forget my idea.
But perhaps you are like so many of us and have no real excuse…you just go to bed late. Well, I am calling for subconscious reform…a re-awakening to truly sleeping, haha, I had to say!
I challenge any who would consider it fun and perhaps healthy for their walk with God to now condier themselves under a God-inspired bedtime of sometime between 9:00PM-10:00PM. I sound like a parent, but I know how we’ll fidge on this…That means in bed, teeth brushed, face wahed, prayer time finished, head on pillow, getting closer and clsoer, if not already asleep by no later than 10:00PM. Remember, this is not an invite to re-aquaint one’s self with little kid bedtime regimen only to then grossly sleep in and not get up. I want to have my mornings be God’s…and so, I am quite simply sleeping at 9:00 hopefully because I want to wake up 8 hours later at 5:00AM. But perhaps, because I consider overdue sleep an incredible worship to the Lord, you may just need to experience the sleep of your youth.
We really did walk so very with the Lord when we were still in the times of learning to use our legs. Only when we gained momentum and stability, defeating our wonky knees, did we begin to run every which a direction in this life…sometimes God, sometimes not. Faith like a little child…may it be ours again!