This past Sunday in a sermon at Calvary, I described what a praying life could look like through the lens of a definition from David Powlison:
“Prayer is meant to be the conversation where your life and your God meet.”
This one sentence has profound implications for the disciple of Jesus Christ. If you’d like to hear how I tried to apply it, you can watch or listen to the sermon at Calvary's sermon page. What I’d like to do here is expand on one of the illustrations I used to attempt to drive the point home. The illustration was comparing my relationship with my wife through our regular interactions to our relationship with God through regular interactions.
For example, I get to know my wife better through our conversations as we spend time with family, go shopping, have friends and neighbors for dinner parties, or embark on our weekly date night. The variety of these times together, and the conversations that attend them, are part of our healthy relationship. And so it is with God. Powlison is instructing us to bring God into the picture of all the nooks and crannies of our lives through the medium of conversation.
So, what I’d like to do now is expand on what ‘date night’ with God could look like if we had a daily morning ‘date’ with him. And by that, I mean I’d like to provide some very helpful suggestions from Paul Miller on scheduling and preparing for a daily morning routine with our Father.
Get to bed. What you do in the evening will shape your morning. The Hebrew notion of a day as the evening and morning (see Genesis 1) helps you plan for prayer. 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 a 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 [or tea] first or take a shower.
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 [though that may help]. For years I was hindered from praying because I found it so uncomfortable to pray on my knees.
Get going. Start with just five minutes. Start with a small goal that you can attain rather than something heroic. You’ll quickly find that the time will fly.
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. You’ll enjoy being with God. Jesus is so concerned about hanging in there with prayer that he tells “his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1).
(from A Praying Life, by Paul Miller, pages 50-51)
I hope these are an encouragement to you, dear friend. I believe that as you give God space alone with him, and in every other moment of your day, he will increase your sense of his presence, help, and love.
Psalm 5:3 Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord.
Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.
Psalm 59:16 But as for me, I will sing about your power.
Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love.
For you have been my refuge,
a place of safety when I am in distress.
Psalm 88:13 But I, O Lord, cry to you;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
Psalm 143:8 Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning,
for I am trusting you.
Show me where to walk,
for I give myself to you.