I woke up very early and suddenly this morning. It was like someone had flipped a switch. My brain immediately went into high gear thinking about the details of a very large event—our upcoming Celebrate Israel Week that I have been working on for over a year. There are a thousand details to tend to and as we are getting closer to the event, they become ever more important. In addition to that I am taking a tour group to Israel next week. I don’t worry about any of these details, but I still have to think about them and pray through them. Without the Lord’s help and the help of many great people He has surrounded me with, I could do nothing!
When I woke up the temptation was to think and worry about these details. If I did that I’d put undue stress on myself and those around me, so I refuse to do that. This time I didn’t try to go back to sleep. I really woke up hard and it was one of those times—as I have learned from the Lord—that I was to instead pray through the details. This is how I learned that lesson many years ago.
Early on in my Christian walk, I had created a discipline to get up early and spend time with the Lord in His Word and prayer most every day. It wasn’t legalistic and I didn’t think God would be mad at me if I didn’t do this. I simply wanted to give Him the first part of my day as a worship of Him, sincerely believing that if I did so He would bless the rest of my day.
One morning I felt greatly distracted. My brain was filled with mind clutter—details of things I needed to take care of. My mind kept drifting till finally, at one point I repented and told the Lord I was sorry for being so carnal that I couldn’t keep my mind on Him. Suddenly I felt the Lord speak to me. He said, “Tim, at some point you always talk with me about my helping you with what you are doing and blessing your hand at what you put it to. Your mind is not filled with carnal thoughts. You have been praying and worshipping me and praying in tongues. These thoughts you are having are from me. I am trying to tell you how and what to do throughout your day.” I was in shock as I heard these words in my heart. Then the Lord continued, “I have been trying to help you but you think it’s you and you’re trying to suppress my help. From now on, get a pad of paper and bring it to prayer time. When you have times like this, write down those thoughts and what I show you. Then you won’t worry about forgetting them and you’ll be able to let them go—you’ll be free to worship me and pray over what I’ve shown you.”
This was a monumental paradigm shift in my prayer time. God was helping me in the details. Wow! From that point on, I did what He instructed. It freed me up to really pray over what the Lord showed me with great confidence for my day. It brought fresh insight to Phil. 4:6-7. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
I don’t allow sleepless nights to become my norm or dominate me. But when this occasionally happens, I handle it in the way the Lord told me. It turns into an awesome time of thought and prayer. I then get extra time to pray for those I love like I did for all of you today! I don’t worry about the losing sleep, either. I just plan a nap or an early bedtime and trust God for His grace and strength for that lost sleep. In the end, God will bless the work of my hands and it will glorify Him. To have such a loving, kind Savior and intimate Father is a glorious wonder! I praise Him!
Matthew 11:28 (Message Bible) “Are you tired? Worn out?… Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
In His love,
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2010 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.