I woke up this morning at 3:30. I would like to say that “the Lord woke me up with a great epiphany of knowledge”, But I actually just had to go to the restroom. Now, that’s not to make light of the Lord waking me up, because on the rare occasion that has happened, I absolutely treasure those times. And, I’m not trying to say that I’m a “morning person”. No, this was a different rare occasion.
Anyway, lately, and what I mean by lately is for the past year or so, it seems that every time I wake up, regardless of the reason, my first thoughts are on the Lord. Now, I’m not trying to make myself out to be some super-spiritual person living on a cloud. No, I’m a regular guy saved by grace the same as any other believer. And maybe my more than 50 years on this earth has brought me to a place of appreciation for all that God has done for me in my life and in the lives of so many around me. But, no matter the reason, I’m so thankful for each day that my eyes open in the morning. I think for that, and many reasons, my first thoughts in the morning are, “Lord you are awesome and worthy of my life and everything I can offer. Thank you for my family and giving me the strength to care for them. Lord give me wisdom today and give me strength and courage to walk this out. I love you.”
I gave my life to the Lord in the fall of 1991. Like many, it was a time of desperation in my life where I had made a train wreck of things and had faced losing my family repeatedly due to my lack of self control and for my immaturity. Lying alone in bed one Saturday night I spent nearly 4 hours talking to God and the end of that conversation was me giving it all to Him with this commitment, “show me what to do, and I’ll do it”. Now, I was a young immature man who still had a mess of a life on his hands the next morning to deal with. And even though I woke up that morning with thanksgiving on my heart, that wasn’t the case every morning after that. Oh no, that took nearly 3 decades of life, learning, maturing, and God’s unwavering faithfulness in my life. I certainly wish it would have happened right away, and I’ve seen that happen for some, but that wasn’t the case for me.
So, back to praying without ceasing. According to Strong’s Concordance (see ref. below), that means; properly, no unnecessary gaps in space or time, i.e. “as often as required”. Now, that can be interpreted in a few ways. But recently I read an article where the writer likened it to his love for his wife. Ok, I am fortunate enough to be able to relate to that since, even though I tried to destroy my marriage the first 5 years, I have loved my wife continuously for over 3 decades. And now she is truly part of me in everything I do. Not that her name is on my lips 24/7 and her image is seared in everything I see. It’s just that I love her in every aspect of my life. She is part of all of it. Nothing I do is without thought of her, either consciously or subconsciously. We are to the point where in most cases I don’t have to ask myself, “what would she think of this”. I already know. Now I’ll be the first to tell you that, in my personal growth journey, selfishness is what I’m working on. I’ve told my wife many times in recent months and years that I’m trying to be less selfish and think of others more. I’m a work in progress and God is helping me with this. But “loving” my wife is continuous. It’s non-stop. And when she comes to mind consciously her face is an image in my minds eye in that moment. But when she isn’t in my mind consciously, her face isn’t there, but I still absolutely lover her. I believe praying without ceasing is much the same.
Praying is a conversation with the Father. It’s the dialogue between us and the one who made and saved us. And the Bible is a letter to us that helps us navigate through this life. I have grown to love the Lord for many reasons. First, because He rescued me from my own mess. Then, I experienced His grace over the years in the countless times where I was blessed beyond what I knew I could deserve. And I experienced his mercy in the countless times where He kept me and protected me from the destruction that I know I certainly deserved. Now, It’s even in the little things that I can see His hand all around me. He’s always been there but I understand Him better now and I know Him better as time passes. And every time He is brought to my conscious mind His word becomes more real and His love more tangible. And during those conscious moments I talk to Him and thank Him. But, when He isn’t on my conscious mind, I still love Him. I am still a believer even when I’m being selfish or acting out or angry. He is still my heavenly Father and I am still His child when I’m only thinking of me and my stuff. And as I mature and spend less time thinking about my stuff and more time thinking about Him and what He shows me, my prayers (conversation) will be more “often as required” and “without unnecessary gaps”.
Lord thank you for loving me in spite of myself. Thank you for giving me courage to face my shortcomings and work through them. You are awesome in so many ways. I love you. You Rock.