Some people can lay in bed till noon. I’m not one of those people. I am, and always have been, an early riser. When my internal clock goes off around 6:00 each morning, I am ready to go. But before my feet hit the floor, I say a quick prayer to God. “Use me today for your glory. Allow me to cross paths with someone who needs to know of your love.”
I find that I am more willing to respond positively to a call from God if I anticipate the possibility. Hence the reason for my morning prayer.
When we intentionally partner with God to do His work in the world, we are not caught off guard when unplanned circumstances unfold. Instead, we enthusiastically recognize the role we were destined to play in God’s big plan and step out in faith.
Time and time again I have been blessed by my morning prayer. I’ve had the privilege of sharing God with a telemarketer who has since become a friend, of helping a young woman navigate a miscarriage, of encouraging a college student to pursue her dreams, and of holding a refugee’s hand as she passed from this world to the next.
I held Ms. Kim’s hand as she asked for the 10th time in as many months, “Am I dying?” This time the answer was different. “Yes,” I told her. “You are dying.”
Ms. Kim had been my dry-cleaning lady. She always greeted me with a smile and tried to make small talk in broken English, Korean being her native language.
One morning when I stopped at the shop, I noticed Ms. Kim moving slower than usual, and she had difficulty cashing me out. I wished her well and headed to my car. But no sooner did I sit down behind the steering wheel when I felt a nudge from God. “I have prepared you for this.”
I took Ms. Kim to the doctor that very day and to every doctor appointment in the months that followed. Because she had no family in this country except a daughter from whom she had become estranged, I became her lifeline.
Ms. Kim told her doctors that I was her angel. When she asked me, “Why you help me?” I’d answer, “Because God calls me to, and He loves you.” As her health declined, Ms. Kim appointed me her health care proxy. That move opened doors that allowed me to seek and find her daughter.
When Ms. Kim died later that year, I held one hand while her daughter held the other. I’m pretty sure God called me into Ms. Kim’s life not only to stand by her during her illness, but to reunite her with her daughter and to bear witness of God’s redeeming grace to the doctors and nurses who cared for her.
It would have been easy for me to turn a blind eye to Ms. Kim’s condition. I didn’t have to get involved. But my heart is full because I did. This is why I pray.
My morning prayer serves as a reminder to pay attention to my surroundings so I am better able to recognize the opportunities to be God’s hands and feet in the world .
There’s no evidence to support this, but I believe the apostle Paul was an early riser, like me.
The book of Acts chronicles his missionary journeys across land and sea, from Jerusalem to Greece and back—several times. According to Biblical scholars, that’s equates to more than 10,000 miles! (I can’t imagine anyone putting that many steps in unless they were an early riser.)
Though I will never impact the world the way Paul did during his lifetime—planting churches, making the lame walk (Acts 14:8-10), healing the sick, banishing evil spirits (Acts 19:11-12), and bringing a man back to life (Acts 20:9-12)—I do believe that I, too, am called to be a vessel for God’s purposes. As Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Those good works certainly involve caring for others. Why else would Jesus have said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39).
Opportunities to love our neighbor are precious gifts that should be anticipated and embraced.
May you feel encouraged to step into each day with your heart open to the adventure God has prepared for you.
“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation”. (Psalm 5:3)
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