It's 1:19 am!
The rest of the house is sound asleep, but I'm awake! Wide awake!
Worry does it's worst when the lights go out, the silence descends, and the distractions disappear. It's also the time when Paul's message, "don't worry" becomes the greatest challenge for me.
When I started this blog series, I saw it as a way to share all I had discovered about Paul's letter to the Philippians. The aim was to flick through my notes, reword a few paragraphs and there we go, a blog series on worry done and dusted. It hasn't been like that at all. As each week has gone by, and each self-imposed deadline has approached, the polished words of wisdom have been scarce. Instead, I find myself in a situation where making a choice to do something instead of worrying has brought me to my office, at 1:27 am, as the rest of the house sleeps!
After forty minutes laying in the dark and staring at the ceiling, I decided to do something different instead.
As I pray, I'm not going to belittle my concerns by comparing them to those facing more challenging situations or qualify each prayer by reminding God that I know how much I am blessed. I'm going to be honest! Instead of worrying, I'm going to pray about everything. It may seem like a strange thing to do at 1:34 am, but my alternative is to lay in the dark watching the time go by and calculating how much sleep I could get if I fall asleep right now! So, I'll be back in a little while when I've sat with my prayer journal and prayed about everything that is on my heart right now.
It's 2:06 am!
Every worry my weary head could think of has been prayed over.
Sometimes we just need simplicity.
There's an old chorus that I've heard in church since I was a child.
Prayer gently lifts me to highest Heaven,
From earth's confusion to Jesus' breast;
My sin and weakness, my doubt and sorrow,
Are lost forever in sweetest rest.
Hal Beckett (1888-1971)
I think sometimes we expect our prayers to change our outlook on things immediately. For me, when every sin, weakness, doubt, and sorrow is converted into pray, I am "gently" lifted from the confusion of everyday life. This lifting is slow and steady as each prayer leaves my heart and rests on "Jesus' breast." I'd love a dramatic airlift from the things that worry me but that's not what's happened tonight. I may not be returning to bed without a care in the world, but for a few brief moments, I decided to put the words of Philippians 4:6-7 into action and I hope I've encouraged you to do the same.
6-7 Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life.
Philippians 4:6-7 (Message)