I am a believer in the power of prayer. I have seen God do incredible miracles through the fervent prayer of His people. I have been part of prayer teams and I have been blessed to pray for other people.
But, I’ve got a confession that will make half of you sigh with relief and maybe the other half wag your finger at me.
I don’t always pray first thing in the morning.
Now maybe you’re wondering when I pray, if I pray, and what my prayer life looks like. You’re wondering why I don’t follow Jesus’ example to pray early in the morning. Or maybe you’re just relieved that you’re not the only one.
I may have said it before, but if I haven’t yet, I am not a morning person. I don’t function well if I get up too early. I fall asleep if I try to get up at 5AM to pray. And maybe I need to push through that, or maybe not. Truthfully, that’s between me and God, but the most important thing is that I do spend time in prayer almost every day.
Sometimes I spend 5 minutes, and sometimes I spend 30-45 minutes. Every day is different.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 says to “pray without ceasing”. It doesn’t say “pray in the morning” or “pray over your meal” or “pray only when you need something”. We are to pray without stopping, or constantly. That’s a tall order.
But when I think about my day, I do start it with a short prayer. I wake up and before I even open my eyes, I thank God. I praise Him. I think about the wonderful things He has done. It may last just a minute or two, but it sets my heart on Him first and foremost. But it’s not the deep prayer time that most people think of when you “set aside time” for prayer.
We pray over meals. I pray when my children get hurt, when they are sick, when they are sad, and when they need to apologize for hurting each other. I don’t have a “prayer closet”, but I will pray even in the middle of the day, when the kids are running around, doing schoolwork, or watching a movie. Sometimes I pace the kitchen and pray while I am cooking a meal. The thing is prayer is in it’s most simple form, how we connect with God.
My kids hear the Lord’s Prayer daily because we say it every night at bedtime. It’s something my mom did when I was very young and I have vivid memories of feeling safe because of it.
I pray in the Spirit. I pray with words. I pray scripture over people and situations. I pray and God does the work. I pray and I draw near to Him. I pray and He draws near to me.
The truth is, no matter when you pray, you’re drawing close to the heart of God. You’re drawing near to the One who loves you and created you. Your prayers are heard. God cares about the things heavy on your heart. And while our prayers should be more than a list of “God-do’s” (instead of honey-do’s), He does want to hear what you need.
So when you pray, start by honoring God. Then thank Him. For His presence, salvation, healing, etc. Praise Him for who He is. Make your requests for yourself and others known to Him, and then leave them at the altar.