But Peter put them all forth and kneeled down, and prayed.
Most of the time, my mind feels like it’s filled with untethered balloons. Little bits of advice, ideas, names, events, grocery needs, music ideas, “to do” items and memories get jumbled up all together and float around in there. I have forgotten many things- places to be, phone calls to make, and even my 6 year-old once. I depend on lists and routines to help me remember everything. And if I need to remember something new, I have to anchor it to something that I already do. So, if I temporarily have to take a medicine twice a day, I will put it next to my toothbrush. Because I do remember to brush my teeth.
I was a teenager when I started really going to church. I learned about prayer, and haphazardly started praying on my own. I frequently forgot, and never felt a good rhythm. Well, at least until I connected my prayers to something I love to do every day- sleep. I can’t remember exactly where I heard the idea, but I began to roll out of bed onto my knees every single morning. And at night, I would not crawl into the blankets until I had first been on my knees right next to my bed. I started and ended my day with the Lord. And 20+ years later, I still begin and end my days in exactly the same way.
In the morning, I feel the energy and promise that another day can bring, and I thank the Lord for this new day. I thank God for my husband and children and my many blessings. I ask God to bless my eyes to see those who I can help. I ask for the Holy Spirit to guide me. I ask for help with my challenges. As I say “amen” and rise to meet the day, I feel grounded and ready.
At night, I am always tired. I think about my interactions with my family, and how I used my time. The day’s events swirl in my memory. But I always fall to my knees before I get in bed. I thank the Lord for this day. I thank Him for my voice and my health and for protecting my family from harm. I try to name everyone in my family and express my gratitude for something they did that day. I ask God to bless us as we sleep and to forgive me for times of anger and selfishness. Some nights I cry to God in pain or sorrow. Some nights I reflect on a miracle I witnessed. As I say “amen” and turn down the covers, my mind is more peaceful and calm.
Anchoring prayer to sleep has been such a gift for me. Like Peter, who “put them all forth and kneeled down” (Acts 9:40), I am able to push my problems and worries aside and kneel and pray to God. I have space to breathe and feel God’s love. Prayer is not a random event that could be lost in the shuffle. This is a holy habit that is part of the fabric of my life now.
Where can you regularly pour out your heart to the Lord, and when? Do you have a special time and place, where you have space to meditate and pray? If not, what time and place can you carve out each day for prayer?
“Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice” (Psalms 55:17)
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him , and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5