Prayer in the Middle of the Night
by Jonathan Bailey
20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
Carrying your cross is not an easy thing. It can be painful. Galatian 2.20 is one of my favorite sayings of Paul. It says so clearly what happens when we submit our bodies to the cross; we slowly transform into the image of Jesus. Of course the whole question of how do I submit my body to a cross that is not literal may and should arise. That is what this blog is all about. It is about thinking creatively about ways we can deny our pleasures/passions/desires/flesh/self for the sake of Jesus. So I have a great spiritual experiment for all of us to try this week.
Experiment 009: Prayer in the Middle of the Night (Approximately 2:20 am)
One night this week before you go to bed set your alarm clock to 2:20 am. The reason you set it for 2:20 am is to remind you to pray what Paul was saying in Galatians 2.20. So how is this taking up your cross? Well, your body at 2:20 am wants nothing else but sleep. So, when you wake up and get out of bed and get on your knees and begin praying, you are asking God to help you identify with the death of Jesus on the cross. It is a way of saying to God, “I am willing to give of my self to your cause, I am asking for you to change me Jesus.” It is a way that you let God know that you are serious about following Him, your faith is more than words, it’s acting and moving.
We don’t possess the power to change ourselves into the image of Jesus; only the Spirit can do that. But we do have a little power in us to direct and say what we will do with our bodies. That means everything from sitting my butt in a chair and reading the gospel stories, using my feet to walk around downtown Dallas and pass out food and offer prayer to anyone who needs it, or using my mind and mouth to meditate on a scripture. Our body is what we have control over and this is what Jesus wants us to nail to the cross.
So, wake up at 2:20 am one night this week and make your prayer something like this: “Jesus, thank you for showing me how to die. I am asking you to help me crucify my flesh this very moment. Please transform my selfish heart into a more loving and selfless heart. Please come and drive out my old life and replace it with yours. Live in me Jesus. Show me how to live out your faith in my world. Thank you for forgiving me and now please free me!”
Then you can hop back in bed and have a good night’s rest. Remember spiritual disciplines are not heroic; you don’t have to stay up all night trying to prove something to God. You just simply talk with Him for a few minutes and then allow his Spirit to do the rest! I hope you have a great time with this experiment this week! I would love to hear how it goes.
Seek the Kingdom,