Here is a bit of information most people don't know about me. For over a year now I have been meeting with a small group of ladies at 5:30 in the morning. We have one common goal. Prayer.
We meet twice a week in the living room of one of our homes. Nothing special, nothing formal. Getting up that early to be at a prayer meeting is no easy task but it has been one of the most rewarding things I have taken part in. Why? Because after a year of praying faithfully with these ladies we have grown closer to the Lord and closer to each other. We have cried out to God together and he has listened and responded. Our faith has grown, our has vision expanded, and our hearts have been united.
As I said, it is no easy task to be up, ready, and alert enough to pray at that hour in the morning. Between all of us there are represented 6 families and 21 children (from infants to teens). We have a lot of reason to be too tired, too busy, or too overwhelmed. But all the more reason we need to pray! I came across these helpful tips with regard to prayer that I think our group would agree are significant in making prayer actually happen in our lives. I need each one of these things because prayer isn't something I will ever arrive in but instead continue to strive in (Romans 15:30). Do you want to grow in prayer? Consider these helpful and practical tips from A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller pp.50-51 (my comments in parentheses):
- Get to bed. What you do in the evening will shape your morning. If you want to pray in the morning, then plan your evening so you don't stay up too late. The evening and the morning are connected.
- Get up. Praying in bed is wonderful. In fact, the more you pray out of bed the more you'll pray in bed. But you'll never develop morning prayer time in bed. Some of my richest prayer times are at night. I'll wake up praying. But those prayer times only began to emerge because I got out of bed to pray.
- Get awake. Maybe you need to make a pot of coffee first or take a shower. (Coffee yes! Some of these ladies actually go to the gym before prayer...you do the math to think about what time they are getting up!)
- Get a quiet place. Maybe a room, a chair, or a place with a view. Or maybe you do better going for a walk. Make sure that no one can interrupt you.
- Get comfortable. Don't feel like you have to pray on your knees. For years I was hindered from praying because I found it so uncomfortable to pray on my knees. (Comfort is something we don't avoid. Cozy PJ's are not an uncommon sight at our prayer meetings. Some of my favorite prayer times have been around a warm fire on the dark winter mornings.)
- Get going. Start with just five minutes. Star with a small goal that you can attain rather than something heroic. You'll quickly find that time will fly. (Having sent our requests the night before, we usually jump right into praying because this is very true.)
- Keep going. Consistency is more important than length. If you pray five minutes every day, then the length of time will slowly grow. You'll look up and discover that twenty minutes have gone by. (This is also very true, the time and the place we meet are consistent. This helps us all stay on track. I can probably count on one hand how many times we have missed prayer over the past year. Consistency here has had a profound effect on the consistency in my own personal prayer life as well.)
Regardless of how or when you pray, if you give God the space, he will touch your soul. God knows you are exhausted, but at that same time he longs to be a part of your life. A feast awaits.