"And I in righteousness I shall see your face; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with seeing your likeness" - Psalm 17:15 (NIV)
One of the defining aspects we see in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ is that He began the day with prayer. "Very early in the morning while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed" (Mark 1:35). As he was always surrounded by crowds and after such a busy day before of preaching and engaging the Pharisees in debates this must have been a therapeutic moment for Christ when he would have some good time to himself.
But there was also more. For Jesus
being away in a secluded place would also mean a chance to pour out His heart to God of the previous days events, plan for the day ahead and listen to Him. I suppose it is a moment He must have looked up to every day knowing it's benefits. Conversations with His Father must have been real and intimate, bringing a certain soothing and uplifting of His spirit. You do not wake up and stick to something on a daily basis that is a drag - this must have been his best time of the day!
Martin Luther the leader of the protestant reformation is reputed to once have said, "I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer." Here is the point. In the olden days before the arrival of locomotive transport those who were setting out for a long journey on foot they had to start early with the first cock crow before the punishing sun came out. One of the things they had to start with also was a good meal, which was fuel needed to give them energy through the long walk to their destiny.
Sometime back I run into one senior citizen who these days the first thing he wakes up to in the morning is to hit the treadmill. It motivates him to jump out of bed and there he spends about an hour. "I can't start the day without it" he said. I could see some of the benefits on his 81 year old energetic body.
There are no rules about waking up to pray as first thing- or even saying prayer at a defined hour of the day. God is everywhere and ever with us. He is accessible at any time of the day. But there is something special about prioritizing our lives that the first thing we do is to gently talk to God. Like the early traveller this is some fuel any of us needs, for the long tasks ahead!
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, what a joy and privilege to make time that at the start of any day I first talk and hear from you, for there is little I can do without you!
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“Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel” ( Zechariah 4:10).
The public life of King David is well known. However, there is an early aspect of his life quite hidden though we can get glimpse of it. The first time we get to know David he is a stay home kid while his big brothers are on to bigger stuff, like fighting with King Saul. “Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war: The firstborn was Eliab; the second, Abinadab; and the third, Shammah. David was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul, but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem” ( I Samuel 27:13-14).
Left home alone perhaps it was a time for David to bond with the old man Jesse. Maybe he sometimes felt idle and ignored. But there was something maturing in his life for the life ahead. For in the meantime as he would later point to King Saul once an opportunity availed itself, God was ironing out his CV. When he offered to take on Goliath and Saul hesitated, he quickly shot back: “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine” (vv 35-37).
That’s the point. What had apparent been idle moments God was preparing David for the battles ahead? He would not only emerge out of the shadow as a great warrior but also a shepherd of his people ever relying on God.
Equally so, for all of us, there are moments that might appear idle and we feel frustrated as we see the days go by. Yet, in His gentle ways, God is preparing us for great days ahead.
Prayer today: Lord Father God, maker of heaven and earth, for those periods in life of apparent inactivity and maybe trials, help me appreciate them as the maturing me, for in due time and season all will bear fruit, this I pray in Jesus’ name!