I haven’t been spending time with the Lord for nearly a week now. Oh I have been to Mass, said Grace at mealtimes, offered thanks throughout the day and shot arrows in His direction, but serious-early-in-the-morning-before-my-day-begins prayer, that has not been part of my day. My prayer space sits cold, empty and waiting, silently reproaching me for not being there.
Because most mornings I just want to sleep.
I grew up believing that to be holy one prayed in the morning, and I can see the sense in that, spending time in prayer before the day begins has a certain calmness about it. I know from experience that when I do pray regularly it sets my day up right. That’s not to say I behave like a model citizen or that my day swims along perfectly but that sometimes I am better able to focus on what is important. When I spend time with God I regret less.
All the Spiritual writers I’ve read set time aside at the beginning of the day to pray so too those of my friends who I deem most in touch with their living faith. So yet again I resolve to do the same.
It all started off so well, and then I remember that that was before the start of the school term.
In term time it is all so different. I hit the ground running at 6am, calling child number 4 for school. This lovely, wonderful, funny child can not get up and out in the morning. It is not simply a case of ‘not being a morning person’ but that her body and mind take an extra long time to warm up. She is also a school refuser. So mornings in our house are hard work. Wrapped in a blanket with a cup of tea, I sit on the stairs outside her room constantly cajoling, calling, questioning as to how far she has got, through her closed bedroom door. If it sounds like nagging that’s because it is! If I stop for more than 2 minutes she has drifted off into her own world, sitting up with her eyes open.
Haste is not a concept she understands, time has no meaning in her world. It can take 20 minutes to put on a pair of socks. It drives me to despair.
When I finally get her out the door all I want to do is crawl back into bed and sleep. And sometimes I do, I choose to sleep rather than pray. The spirit is willing but the flesh? My flesh is oh so weak.
(Guiltily) I am aware of the Lord gently calling me, reminding me of His presence, waiting for me through the pushed-to door of my heart, the business of my mind and tired, weary body.
Morning after morning He invites me to spend time with Him, calling not nagging.
Throughout the day He continues to call me back to Him, my constant companion, he doesn’t desert me or get driven to despair at my lack of haste. He waits for me, because He knows that I do want to spend time with Him, but that whilst not quite a refuser, I find term-time morning prayer difficult.
I do believe that setting aside a regular time to pray is what I need if my relationship with the One who loves me is to deepen and grow but that it doesn’t have to be in the morning! The adage that we must pray as we can not as we should still holds true and of course that to pray all we have to do is turn up…
The psalmist tells me that to sleep in the presence of God is a good thing and the Gospel writers tell us of the disciples sleeping in the Garden so I know I am in good company and I offer it up…again.
And by offering it up, through the haze of tiredness and the grace of God I see the connection, it just took me a little while.