This morning I woke up with my 4 year old on one side of me and my husband on the other. I wanted to get up and pray, but I didn't want to wake them up. I decided I would pray right there in bed, but my mind kept drifting into a state of half-sleep as I was praying and meditating on Scripture while laying there. "Oh well," I thought when everyone woke up and it was time to go, "I tried. I'm sure God is pleased with that." Then I went downstairs, made breakfast, and started my day. My mind continued to be unfocused as I did this and that, not very effectively.
When I sat down later to check my email, I found an e-devotion waiting for me with these words: "Worship that is performed with a sleepy, drowsy body is weak worship." Ouch!
The devotion talked about Isaiah 64:7: "And there is no one who calls on Your name, Who stirs himself up to take hold of You." The word "stir" can also mean "to rouse oneself, to awaken." It talked about how the people were wanting the Lord to rouse himself on their behalf (Isaiah 64:1-2), but, as the devotion writer noted, there was no one who would rouse himself awake and stir himself to pray.
It is not always easy to get ourselves up in the morning or to stay awake later into the night in order to have special time with our Savior. And it isn't always easy to stay focused on God throughout the day. Our bodies rebel. Real needs of other people rightly demand our attention. But, as Denise's blog from yesterday aptly demonstrates, there is so much need for us as Christ's people to be alert and focused, prayerful and ready to be of use to God in this hurting world. How can we do that if we are perpetually half asleep? Not just physically, but mentally throughout our days?
Ephesians 6:18 says, "Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and petition. To that end keep alert and always persevere in petitioning for all the saints." For our Christian brother who is doing hard labor 16 hours/day in a North Korean labor camp right now under constant threat of torture, for the young boy in the Congo who is right now hiding scared as his tribe is being visited by rebels wanting to force him into the child army, for the kidnapped Nigerian school girls who have converted to Islam under threat, for the kid trying to do the right thing in Camden but who daily passes by drug dealers on his way to school... Can we not rouse ourselves and pray for them?
"Now it is high time to awake out of sleep" (Rom. 13:11).