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 Honor Israel Week that I have been working on for a year. There are a thousand details to tend to and as we are getting closer to the event, they become ever more important. While working on this event, I recently paused to take a large group of people to Israel. That trip had more details to take care of than I care to say. Through it all, 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 refused to do that. I really woke up hard so I didn’t go back to sleep. I’ve learned over time that when that happens, yield to it and spend time in prayer over what has been on my mind. 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, reading His Word and through praying. I did that 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. I absolutely believed in my heart that by dong so, that I would find the grace to help me no matter what the day delivered to my doorstep and that I’d be blessed in all my doing.
One morning I felt greatly distracted. My brain was on overload with details of things I needed to take care of. Although I was trying to keep my mind focused on what I was reading and praying about, I wasn’t succeeding. My mind kept drifting until 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, you regularly talk with me and ask me to help 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 being carnal and so instead of receiving my help, you think you are distracted and you are suppressing 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 go of them so that you are 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 one of those occasions happens where I do wake up in the middle of the night, I handle it in the way the Lord told me. It turns into an awesome time of thought and prayer. I jot down what is on my mind, let go of it, and return to more reading and prayer. I don’t worry about losing sleep either. I just plan a nap or an early bedtime the next time and trust God for His grace and strength to get me through that day. God is in our details if we will learn how He communicates with us. It’s worth learning. It’s worth having faith in His grace to help you. It’s a great joy to watch God give your thoughts and guidance to walk through what would other be sleepless nights tossing and turning over cares! 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,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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