I do not have a ritual in the morning per say. It is more some things that I want to accomplish each morning. The only thing for certain is that prayer and Bible study are the minimum requirements, and I try to leave my heart and mind open to God to direct both.
This morning was one of those mornings when I got lost in the specifics of what to pray. There were some situations and individuals to pray for, but the what to pray. That was a stumbling block for me this morning. I went through each prayer each situation, each person, and every circumstance and struggled to know what to ask for regarding each person, so I left it in God’s hands. But the final part of my prayer was for me.
I prayed and asked God for help with the very thing that I struggled with this morning, and I have struggled with in the past; I asked Him for guidance to pray with more purpose.
Clearing My Head
I used to wake wide-eyed and ready to go, but that is no longer the case. After my prayer time, I needed a bit of just reading posts and email to allow the brain to warm up a bit. Sometimes it seems a bit useless as far as content is concerned other days, like today, I will find an answer to a prayer or a prompt for a prayer or study. Today it was both. Today the light shined, and a prayer was answered.
Matthew 7:7-8 (ESV)
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
As I began with the steps to clear my head my prayers lingered, and I read a K-L verse from yesterday.
It was Hebrews 11:6 which kind of was a jolt that went well with my first few sips of coffee.
Hebrews 11:6 (ESV)
6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
I lingered there a bit on that verse and just thought about my faith and trust in Him and my desire to draw near. I thought of how my faith had changed over the years from an intellectual belief to a desire for a true relationship with God; Heart to heart. Thinking about the time that I realized that to have that kind of relationship required the complete surrender of my will to His. What joy comes from that realization. Nothing compares to that love.
After meditating on that for a while, I went to today’s verse. It was Romans 10:17.
This passage in Romans also was about faith, but it was about how we receive it.
Romans 10:17 (ESV)
17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
I was taken back to that first Sunday when God woke me from my selfishness and sleep. It was a man preaching. He was not giving advice. He was preaching out of God’s Word right at me in the basement of Ninevah Christian Church, and I was overcome.
This morning I went back and read verses 14-18 in Romans 10.
Romans 10:14-18 (ESV)
14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
18 But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed, they have, for
“Their voice has gone out to all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.”
As I considered these passages, I realized that this was the answer to part of my prayer. It was very specific. It was focused on strengthening faith and prayers for those that preach the Gospel. But there was more to be revealed this morning. I still was not quite awake. I had only made it through about 1/2 of the first cup of coffee. I still had a couple of questions. The answers to these were in Facebook.
The first was on the mission field. One right after another I saw three posts for the unreached and the need for workers and prayer. The first two lead me straight to prayer for the people that the individuals focused on in their posts. We are so blessed here, and there are so many that have limited access or understanding. So I prayed specifically for that and went to the third post, and that humbled me. It was very specific. I have likely seen it before, but this morning it came in direct response to a prayer and the Lord left me open to see it.
The request was from a Brother in Christ that is in the mission field. His request was for specific prayer. He included a brief article by David Platt. It was “16 Ways to Pray for Missionaries from IMB President David Platt”. (I include the link in the article title.)
The prayers all came from Acts 13 and 14. I read each and was overwhelmed at the answer God had given me through my brother. These 16 prayers were just what I needed when I get stuck and am uncertain. They were for missionaries in foreign lands and those in need here as well. I was humbled and overjoyed at the same time. I was also reminded of something else as well – there is an order to everything, but I do not define it God does.
As I considered all these things this morning, I realized that I was defining the order of things too much. I realized that in this morning time that I have with God I need to be listening to all His prompts. Rather than focusing on Tasks focus on prompts from the Holy Spirit.
There is a beginning to my morning prayer. It starts when I wake, but there is no middle or end until I go to sleep. If I get stuck listen and go to the word or go to where I am prompted today, it was three of my brothers in Christ posting on Facebook and two emails that the Holy Spirit used to answer my prayers. Each answer leads me deeper into His Word.
You know I am comfortable with that. God has a whole world to use to touch my heart. Why should I try to dictate or limit Him? That is a fool’s errand.
Lord God, thank you for opening my eyes a bit further yet again. Thank you for reminding me that you have no limits and I have no reason to limit where I might find you. Oh, Father how awesome you are. How gracious and patient you are with us. You say “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” And you are ever faithful. Forgive me for my doubts and impatience. Praise be to you Lord, in Jesus name. Thank you for the family of believers you surround me with, Amen!