I am a father of three, a husband, I work a fairly demanding, full-time job, which also usually requires moderate travel. In the usual circumstances (when not social distancing due to COVID-19), my family and I are also regular churchgoers, we host our life group on Thursday nights, and we participate in a few other church ministries. And beyond all of those commitments, I also have a personal life with friends and hobbies, including fishing and reading.
When it comes to finding more time to spend with the Lord, I pretty much have to make use of any spare time that comes my way. That might be during my walks a few times per week, where I spend time listening to an audio book, or I spend time praying and worshiping Him. I also try to spread my daily time in the Word throughout the day by reading a portion in the morning, and a portion in the evening before going to bed.
This might seems like a strange statement to most, but I have always wanted to wake up early to spend time with the Lord. Throughout my life, I have always been a “night owl” and never a morning person. Waking up early for me has always been a challenge. I have tried multiple approaches to waking up earlier, including adjusting my morning alarms five minutes earlier each day, and other similar tactics to adjust my sleep schedule.
Another challenge present for my wife and I are the little ones who live with us (our kids). There are nights when they can’t sleep, or they get sick, or they have nightmares. These interruptions to regular sleeping schedules are usually enough to deter me from waking up as planned, no matter how early I get to bed the night before.
Recently, it dawned on me that I have not because I ask not (see James 4:2). Despite the past few weeks of failure to wake up when I had set my alarm, I decided to finally ask our heavenly Father for help. It was a simple prayer: “Father, I want to spend my mornings with you. I want to wake up early, but I can’t do it on my own. Please help me to get up as soon as my alarm goes off.”
My first time praying like this was two nights ago, which happened to be Easter Sunday here in the United States. When my alarm went off at 5:45am, I was able to get up, feeling more rested and energized than I have in a long time, despite our kids coming in at various times throughout the night. Again, last night I prayed the same way, and again I was able to get myself up out of bed, again despite our youngest coming in bed with us in the middle of the night.
This has been a tremendous blessing, and it was something I truly could not do for myself. Maybe you’re reading this and you think it’s a bit silly that I am not able to get myself up “early”. I just hope that this encourages you to trust in God the Father to show up when you need Him. He loves us, He hears our prayers, and He blesses us with what we need.