It was 4:30 am and I couldn’t get back to sleep. I tossed and turned. I meditated on Bible passages, but my heart wasn’t engaging very well with God. The discouragement I felt the night before was still hanging on me — I just wanted to go back to sleep. Then the day ahead started rushing at me like a pack of wild animals!
This was a familiar feeling: anxiety lifting me out of depression. For years that was how I lived.
“Peace! Be Still”
But I’ve discovered a better way to live and it was illuminated before me in the night just then. It was as if I saw Jesus in the moonlight walking on the lake near our house, motioning to me with his hand, and calling out, “Peace. Be still.” Immediately, I got up, picked up my Psalms prayerbook, and walked out to the lake.
In the dim light I could barely see the morning fog hovering over the still waters. I was alone and yet not alone as pelicans stood by, eyeing fish swimming under the surface. Then a hawk soared towards Saddleback Mountain where the first gleams of dawn were beginning to bring light and color to the skies and to my soul. In the silence I knew that I was in the presence of the Lord.
I poured out my heart to Jesus. I listened to his inspirations in nature and in Scripture. I clung to his words in prayer. He calmed my soul in the warmth of his embrace. He tamed the wild animals — the meetings and projects on my calendar, the concerns for my family.
I Ventured on God
“In the morning you hear my voice, O Lord, in the morning I lay my requests before you on your altar and wait in expectation of what you will do” (Psalm 5:3, paraphrase).
I prayed, “Yes, Lord, what are you doing? What do you have in mind for me to do today in your kingdom?” I offered my day ahead to God, for his direction, strength and glory…
I was back in the saddle, ready for a God-adventure! No more wild animals pouncing on me in the dark. No more discouragement. Jesus had the reigns to the horse and I was holding onto him. Together we had begun riding into the day ahead.
True Prayer is a God-Adventure!
That’s what it means to pray: to step out into a God-adventure!
We don’t have to make anything happen. There’s no point in getting down on ourselves over our felt inadequacies because our lives are not about us and what we make of them — they’re about Jesus and what he’s doing. Our part is to watch and listen, then to follow and join in with him.
Prayer is not checking off a list of requests — it’s talking with God about what we’re doing together, expecting for the hand of heaven to move in our midst as we go about our daily activities. True prayer yields excitement to see how God will surprise us with new opportunities, direct our conversations, teach us new lessons, and provide for those we’re interceding for.
So as I go about my day I like to offer a God-adventure prayer: “With Jesus I can… Looking to his hand.”