The alarm was a rude awakening. My mind a-jumble, I silenced the annoyance and stumbled downstairs. The bright light of the living room always woke me from my deep sleep.
I am NOT a morning person.
Let me rephrase that: I am not a WAKING-UP person. It can get ugly when a small child comes to my bedside mid-sleep, demanding a snack. They are lucky to get out alive. Don’t wake the sleeping dragon and you will have a good day. Hassle the beast and who knows what will happen.
Almost robotic, I entered the kitchen and brewed a cup of coffee. Staring out the kitchen window, I pondered the purpose of my 5am wake-up call:
The smell of a local coffee shop filled my home as I graciously sipped the warm liquid, happy to have a jolt of caffeine. I sat and adjusted the pillow on the couch to fit the small of my back, careful not to get too comfortable as I have been known to fall asleep while sitting up. Each person’s prayer time looks unique- kneeling, standing; silent, vocal. I know myself well enough to take the necessary precautions to resist falling back asleep: eyes open, sitting up, praying out loud to an empty room, keeping track of my prayers in a journal. How do I know these things about myself? Because I have tried this “praying early” thing before, only to be overcome with sleepiness and wake to my children demanding breakfast.
Why do I rearrange my schedule to accommodate this early morning moment with God? Why not pray throughout my day or later when my body doesn’t require an infusion of coffee to function? That’s an easy answer:
My husband led the way.
My fun-loving, laid-back husband, Joey, was challenged by our pastor to get up early and pray. He accepted the challenge, rising every morning early before going to the gym. A 4:30am “good morning” was radically changing him and our family. God was speaking to him in ways he had never experienced. The voice of God became so clear that I felt, as a wife, I could completely trust anything my husband asked our family to do. It brought a whole new perspective to “submitting” to my husband. By carving out time specifically for God, changing his pattern of life to give God priority, he was seeing amazing things happen in his life. His faith, our bank account, searching for a new job- every piece finally falling into place.
I, too, wanted to feel the warmth of God’s hand holding mine as we traversed the bumpy topics of “future” and “finances” and “trust.” So here I was in the dark of early morning, grasping for a relationship with God that trumped anything I had experienced in my faith prior to that moment.
“Speak to me, God. Tell me anything and I will be faithful to follow through.”
God didn’t just meet me halfway on that request. He showered me with answers to my prayers! My Bible came to life. Obedience to God came easier, even though the challenges to change my life were bigger than ever before. I was braver to step out and try things that terrified me- things that could send me falling on my face- all for the sake of following God’s call.
If you have never connected with God emotionally; if your faith is beginning to taste stale; if life has become routine, take this challenge:
Get up at 5am, for 5 weeks, 5 days a week, and PRAY. Even when you are tired, sick, overwhelmed.
See God transform your life.
For those that are already in the midst of this challenge (Restore Community Church), this is week 5! Congrats on making it this far and for remaining faithful to step out of your comfort zone! If you have given up, today is another chance to finish strong. So brew that cup of coffee and know that someone in Texas is praying for you at 5am. You are not alone.
How have you seen God answer your prayers?
*Check out BB on Facebook later today for the list of our contest winners and #MCM’s Joey Willis answering your relationship questions for Valentine’s Day week!
Chris Preston says
So few men nowadays are willing to be the spiritual heads of their family. Thanks, Joey, for being such a wonderful role model for Erica, your children and all the people in your life. Well done, good and faithful servant.
Rachel Whitfield says
Absolutely life changing, it truly changes who you are! I will keep going, it is my favorite part of my day (and I am like you, NOT a waking up person)! You’re the best 🙂
Erica Willis says
I cannot go back either! I have been doing this early prayer thing since July. My life is forever changed, let me tell you!
Reneé Dresser says
OK, so I have a big testimony to share here, but I kind of wrote a long intro to it, so please bear with me. 🙂
I read this post super late Thursday night. As in around 1am Friday morning. Feeling convicted while reading it, I thought about setting the alarm for 5am…less than 4 hours away, but opted to keep my alarm set for 7:00 because I “needed” the sleep. Sleep is important you know, and we’ve all been fighting sickness in our house this past week. (Yes, I know you said even when you’re sick). Plus, the Holy Spirit prompted me to read this before I went to sleep – when He clearly knew what time it was – so I didn’t have fair warning about going to bed early…just sayin’. 😉
I’ve tried the 5am club before. Multiple times…sporadically…over the last SEVERAL years. I love the quiet of the early morning while everyone is sleeping. It’s easier to hear the still small voice of the Holy Spirit when it’s quiet. (Not that He can’t get my attention when it’s noisy, but it’s definitely easier for me to hear, or LISTEN, when I don’t have a bunch of distractions). But I too have fallen asleep while praying, sitting up, holding my coffee, or sometimes even WHILE writing in my prayer journal. I love sleep. A lot actually. And, I am a night owl. It’s in my genes. I have even figured, God made me this way for a reason right, so why should I fight it? (That could be a whole ‘nother topic). Consequently though, since I can’t seem to go to bed early, I am NOT a morning person. (Your description of yourself in the morning, reminded me so much of me, that I was laughing to myself while reading that part). But as a mom of 4 kids ranging from 11 years old down to 3 years old, if I don’t get up BEFORE 6 or 6:30 am I pretty much GUARANTEED that I will not get any quiet time until after my older three are at school and my 3 year old is eating breakfast and watching Paw Patrol or Team Umizoomi. OR until naptime. Which that time varies depending on what we’re doing that day.
After falling asleep sometime after 1:15 Friday morning, I was awakened by my cell phone vibrating repeatedly on my night stand at 5:48 am. I must have been in a light sleep, because normally I sleep right through it when it vibrates. I saw that it was WISD calling, and I thought since we’d been expecting snow that there must be a 2 hour delay or school was cancelled. I listened to the message, and I was shocked to find that they were calling to say that school would be starting ON TIME. What?! They woke me for that?! There must be a little bit of snow on the ground, but the roads are fine, I thought. So I got up to look out the windows. NO snow. (I read the letter from the Superintendant later on Facebook explaining why they sent out that call, but at the time, it didn’t make any sense to me). Anyway, as I was walking down my hallway, I heard the Holy Spirit invite me to stay up and spend some time with Him. Aha! Was HE behind that bizarre phone call??? I immediately, (and quite joyfully) said, “OK!” I made my cup of coffee and sat down, asking Him to please keep my kids asleep so I could have adequate time with Him. I stayed awake, and had meaningful, QUALITY time with Him! Around the end of our time together, He prompted me to pray for a friend of mine. It wasn’t a big deal. I’d prayed for her plenty of times before. Then I felt like He wanted me to send her a text letting her know that I had prayed for her and her day. Subconsciously I questioned it because I didn’t think that she necessarily needed to know that I had prayed for her, and it felt a little weird texting her out of the blue, at 7:03am, when we hadn’t texted or talked in a few weeks. But I shrugged the doubt off and texted her anyway. Then I went about my morning getting the kids’ lunches made and so on. When we went to leave for school, it had already started snowing, and it was sticking to the roads. I considered keeping my kids home because I knew that they were going to have early release probably by 10am, (this is Texas, large land of many rural roads, fast drivers, and few snow plows and sanders), and I would just have to turn around and go back and get them. (With my 3 year old, in a chaotic, slippery parking lot where we would have to park and go inside). But I took them anyway. They had missed Wednesday due to being sick, plus with the ice days on Monday and Tuesday, I WANTED them to go to school. But my “intuition” proved to be correct, and by 9:15 I was heading back to the school to pick them up. This whole time that it was snowing I kept thinking about my friend who I’d prayed for that was going to have to drive from her work in Willow Park, all the way to Brock to get her kids. I don’t remember consciously praying for her at that time as I was pre-occupied with driving safely and getting my own kids, but I feel like maybe my spirit was praying for her for me with each thought. Does that even happen? Anyway, my kids and I got home, and at 10:46am I got this text from her: “What timing you had sending this today…was actually in an accident today trying to get back to Brock from work to get kids. Believe your prayers helped keep me safe! Love you!” I was stunned to tears. All of the “what ifs” started running through my mind! “What if I hadn’t prayed?” “What if I hadn’t woken up early?” “What if that call hadn’t come in, waking me up?” “What if I hadn’t read Erica’s blog post on getting up early to pray before I went to sleep?” About the same time I heard from my friend, my husband sent me a text that he’d seen on the news that there had been several accidents in Weatherford on I-20, and even a fatality which happened to be near her exit! In my friend’s case, a truck beside her slid into her lane, pushing her off the road, banging up her car, but it could have been so much worse! Her husband was working out of town, and there was no way he could come help her or get their kids, but there were men from our church that came and helped her and took her home, and other friends that got her kids for her.
I PRAISE GOD for prompting me to read your blog, (and for telling you to write it), for having WISD send that phone call waking me up, for Him speaking to me and inviting me to pray, then prompting me to pray for my friend and for telling me to text her when He did. Sure, I could have told her after the fact. After I read about her accident on Facebook. But by telling her before it happened, I feel like it had a more powerful affect on her and me. It spoke VOLUMES of His love and protection to her, right after it happened, instead of just being like, “wow, that’s cool!” afterwards. And to me it showed the rewards of being obedient. It’s humbling and EXCITING to be a part of something that God does or that He is doing! I’m so thankful that He called me, that I listened AND obeyed, and that my dear sister in Christ was safe!!!
Erica Willis says
This is the COOLEST story! I don’t even know what to say, other than God is the ultimate teacher! I love that the Holy Spirit speaks to us in ways we can’t explain, but gives us results that are sometimes incredibly tangible. I think God honors our prayers when we make conversations with him a priority, rather than an after thought. I pray that God continues to work amazing things through your faithfulness and that even more lives will be changed as a result!
Reneé Dresser says
I love those tangible results He gives us too! And amen to that prayer! I receive it! 🙂
Kristen Epps says
Ok, I’m in! It’s time for me to start praying boldly! Definitely not a morning person! But even Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane pleaded with His disciples to stay up and pray with Him! God is greater than my sleepiness and supplies all the energy I will ever need.
Here goes… please pray for me as I start day 1 this Monday!…Coffee sounds so good right now… but I don’t have any…ugh…But I do have hot Green Tea with honey… ummm… I have to start somewhere!
Thank you for inviting me into this challenge!
Erica Willis says
I am beyond excited that you are joining our group! It helps to be accountable to a group of women doing it too! I cannot wait to see what God does with this step of obedience you are taking! YAY Kristen!
Is this something you are doing alone? Or do you have an accountability group?
Erica Willis says
Kristi- we put you in a group of other women who get up and pray at 5am as well. You check-in together in the morning, share prayer requests and celebrate answered prayers! It becomes a close group of accountability for your early morning prayer time 🙂
Greetings All! God has been calling me to early morning prayer, but I know for a fact I have been sort of waking up later than He is calling me to. Several years ago, however, I use to wake up very early between 4-5am and know for certain I was sleepy, and would fight to go back to sleep.
In this season Im in I hear Him calling me again, I am so happy I found this blog because it just confirms He is calling me to early prayer to take me to another level and give me insight on the steps He is about to order! Glory to God