It was about 3:40 a.m. when I woke up this morning - way too early, even for a morning person like me. At first I was frustrated, but then I realized a healthier perspective. I asked myself, "Could it be that God woke me at this time and was calling me to prayer?"
And then, as my head cleared a little, it all started to make sense. My thoughts moved from the 'negative zone' to look at the opportunity that was being presented to me. And with this I began to pray - focusing upon a variety of people I know who are experiencing challenging times. Then I started praying for a variety of people I don't think I have ever prayed for before (How often do you pray for road construction crews that work at night?)
Around 4:00 a.m., as I found myself dozing a bit in the middle of my prayers, another thought dawned on me. Sleep is a gift from God ... not a right that we have. And being able to doze off, and then wake up a little, and do it over again, and again, ... well it was really like hitting the snooze button, except without the jolt of noise! It was another special gift from God. Mix these gifts with the wonderful invitation we have to come to him with all of our prayer concerns, and suddenly I realized ... here at 'four something a.m.' ... I was living a life of luxury!
Through Saint Paul God urges us in many ways to live this life of luxury. "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit." (1 Thessalonians 5.17-19) "First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be make for everyone, for kings and those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and humanity, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, a testimony at the proper time. ... Therefore, I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument." (1 Timothy 2.1-8) My added underling speaks, I believe, to living that life of luxury at 4:00 a.m.
If I get a little drowsy this afternoon, or feel like I need to go to bed a little early tonight, I will do my best to say, "It's all a part of living this life of luxury!"
Sleep is a wonderful gift from God ... and gift to be enjoyed, appreciated, and used appropriately. Wakefulness is the same, a gift from God to be enjoyed, appreciated, and used appropriately. And so is prayer, for "This is the confidence we have before him: If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked of him." (1 John 5.14-15) This, my friends, truly is the life of luxury he has given to us!