In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice. In the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation. Psa. 5:3
In my previous post, be still, I talked about my challenges with listening to God and letting Him lead during my Prayer Time (capital “P”, capital “T”). As I mentioned in that post, some of the problem came from waiting until late at night to pray, when I struggled with just staying awake, much less listen to the Holy Spirit.
God began to show me that I wasn’t giving Him my best by dozing off right in the middle of my conversation with Him or while praying for a lost friend. I tried praying earlier in the evening, but that inevitably got pushed back because I had to iron something to wear the next day or got home late from choir practice or just lost track of time. Again, not giving God my best…
The obvious solution seemed to be to wake up earlier and have Prayer Time first thing; however, I’m not a morning person – at all. (During my pagan days, I used to say that the only way I wanted to be awake at 6:00 a.m. was if I was still up from the night before. Not really the most memorable period of my life…) Even though I eventually outgrew the late nights, I never really “ingrew” getting up early.
I tried to think of other options, like praying in the car on the way to work (fine for quick “Please help me to not rear-end this semi in front of me” prayers, but not for Prayer Time) or praying in shorter segments throughout the day – none of which:
- Gave God the necessary time and concentration.
- Were conducive to meeting my desire to “be still” and have communion with the Lord.
So when the frustration of praying while groggy began to get the best of me, I decided I would do what I should have done all along – ask God for guidance. So one night I prayed that He would give me direction. I reminded him that He knew I wasn’t inclined to get up early (just what God needs – reminders from me), but if that was His will I would do my best to trust Him to help me make it happen.
Before I share His answer with you, you’ll need a little pertinent back story…
The launch of “clay” coincided with the start of my scripture memorization program; in fact, each verse here on the blog introducing a new post is a verse I’ve just memorized. I had read and heard several Christian writers and speakers talk about the importance of memorizing scripture and thought it would be a good next step in my Christian walk. After all, Jesus did it (’nuff said).
So I began to make a list of Bible verses that I liked (and ones I’m certain God led me to). It wasn’t long before I had a goodly collection. And, being the nerd that I am, I devised a way to toss a little technology into the mix while also making memorization fun and effective. Harkening back to my college days when I was studying to become an educator, I decided on the perfect learning aid – flash cards.
I scoured Office Depot until I found a package of print-your-own business cards by the page, created a spread sheet to keep track of all my Bible verses, designed a cool graphic design for each card, picked out a Bible-appropriate font, and printed out sheet after sheet of pre-perforated business card-sized scripture verses, perfect for slipping into a pocket or lunch bag so I can learn on-the-go. (All this just screams “nerd”.)
Once I had printed enough memory verse cards to keep me busy for a while, I shuffled the pack and set them on my kitchen table. Taking the card on top of the stack as my memory verse that week, I would master it, put it on the bottom of the stack, and take the next card on top as my next verse.
As it so happens, the whole designer Bible verse flash card thing turned out to be the perfect way for me to learn scripture (being nerdy has its benefits); not only that, as I would take the next verse from the top of the stack, it would invariably be one that God used to provide a very personal application just when I needed it. I thought by shuffling the cards I was just putting them in purely random order. To God, though, nothing is random.
Although they’ve all risen to the top at just the right time based on what was going on in my life, the verse above from Psalm 5:3 was particularly meaningful.
As famed radio broadcaster Paul Harvey used to say, “And now for the rest of the story…”
I never know how or when God is going to answer a prayer, so the night I prayed for guidance on whether or not I should move Prayer Time to the morning, I was hoping it would be so insignificant in the scheme of things that He would ignore it or that it would take him a while to answer, during which time I could continue to sleep in.
Of course, that’s not what happened.
I sat down to breakfast the next morning and, having just finished memorizing Psalm 46:10, moved it to the bottom of the stack. No doubt by now you’ve guessed that the next card on the top of the stack was Psalm 5:3:
In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice. In the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.
Hunh – there it was…the next card…the answer to my prayer…the morning after I prayed asking for guidance regarding when I should “lay my requests” before Him. I just sat there shaking my head and kind of giggling in this goofy way. (The working of the Holy Spirit does that to me sometimes, although I try not to put too much importance in that reaction.)
Now, I’m not saying that the Bible says we should pray in the morning; I’m just saying that the sovereign God of the universe used my nerdy, homemade stack of Bible verse flash cards to answer my prayer, leaving me with no doubt that:
- He’s in control.
- He answers prayer.
- His timing is perfect.
- He knows what I need even before I need it.
- He put my flash cards in just the right order so Psalm 5:3 would come up the morning after I prayed asking Him for an answer.
That night, I set my alarm for a new time: 6:30 a.m. The next morning, I woke up right before it went off, wide awake and ready to “be still and…”
Well, you know…