Waking at 3AM – A Spiritual Phenomena

Waking in the middle of the night
Waking in the middle of the night

During a period when I was seeking God, something strange was beginning to happen to me. I was starting to wake up during the middle of the night – specifically at 3AM.

It was odd because I was waking up at exactly 3AM. Not a minute before or after. So, I googled to see if anyone else was experiencing this weird phenomenon. Of course, I learned that thousands of people were going through the same thing, and as I suspected there was often a spiritual reason that this was occurring.

There seemed to be scores of people who were experiencing the same 3AM awakening that was happening to me. One man admitted that as he was preparing to become a priest, the 3AM phenomena started to happen in his life. Among Christians, there seemed to be a consensus that waking up at 3AM was a nudge from God to be with Him and take the time to make it sacred – by prayer or worship – or lying still as Samuel did and saying “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”

One thing I’ve learned in my spiritual walk is that if I wake in the middle of the night, I assume that it’s time to pray. I assume that it’s time for worship. I assume that there is a spiritual battle that has intensified around me, or that there is a unique anointing present in the atmosphere. And I take the time, even if it’s for a brief moment to pray because God has me up for a reason.

* If you have more interest in this subject, an article here or here on prayer watches may be helpful to you.

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Book of 70 Prayers (A Book Review)

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Sometimes books drop into your life at precisely the right time. And so it is with Book of 70 Prayers. Book of 70 Prayers is a Deja Vu experience of God’s favor gracing my life at just the right time. The author sent me a copy of his work, and the book is such a blessing.

The content is simple, easy to read, and practical. What I particularly loved about this book is that if you have a basic understanding of the Bible, then you’ll immediately notice that the prayers are scriptural.

There is nothing more powerful than praying the scriptures, and this is one of those books that brings the Word of God into your prayer life seamlessly. Another aspect of this book that I admired was the author’s wisdom in isolating the prayers of the Apostle Paul. When viewed in such a context, the prayers serve as a stark reminder of what we should be praying for the church today.

There are two primary things that this book can do for you:

1. This book will change your heart. Prayer has a way of cleansing the heart, soul, and spirit. I’m reminded of a promise found in Exodus 36:26 which reads: A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. This is something that we should all long for – a new heart.

2. This book will inspire you to become more reflective. I’m drawn to books that foster quiet introspection. I found myself reflecting as I read through Royle’s work.

Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Prayer does not fit us for the greater works; prayer is the greater work.” If you are interested in deepening your prayer life, you can purchase the Book of 70 Prayers here.

To find out more about the author (Jason Royle) check out his website here.

Difficult Season for You? Fast!

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Are things going a little crazy in your life? Are you dealing with confusion? Are you mentally or emotionally drained? If you are going through a difficult time – I have one recommendation – fast!

Fasting exposes the enemy.

I know what it’s like to be in a position where you are wondering “Why God?” “Why is this happening to me?” I know what it’s like to feel stuck. But, I also know that fasting brings answers.

Fasting brings revelation. Fasting brings understanding. Fasting opens your eyes and makes you more sensitive.

Whenever you deny something as essential as food to get closer to God, you become more sensitive to spiritual things and the voice of God. You receive revelation because you’re not focused on yourself – you are focused on Him; and when you’re focused on Him, wisdom and understanding come.

True story: my husband and I bought a beautiful bohemian rug for our living area. We spent a lot of time on the rug. We didn’t know that our rug was leaking dye. The skin is your largest organ and absorbs anything that you place on it – in this case, we were absorbing synthetic dye. We didn’t know it. We weren’t aware of what was happening to us.

For some reason, we felt compelled to go on a fast. During the fast, we discovered that the rug was leaking unbeknownst to us. There was a danger in our home that we were completely unaware of, and I am certain that fasting exposed the danger.

Fasting exposes danger, but it also reveals revelation.

I’ve experienced scenarios like this on more than one occasion, and I know that many, many other Christians have experienced the benefits and power of fasting.

Fasting provides direction, revelation and understanding but another key component of fasting is that it exposes the enemy. If you are going through a difficult season, fast and get answers. If you are enduring hardship, then fast, gain clarity, and get free.

How Often Do You Pray for Your Country?

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Every Shabbat, my family and I follow a ritual. There are certain prayers that we pray, and included in our prayer time is a small time of prayer for our country. This prayer is usually very short and simple: “Have mercy on our country!”

As the elections proceed, we pray this prayer with more intensity than ever. I feel like an echo when I say that the US is in trouble, but it needs to be said. We are in trouble, and if the Church doesn’t pray, the foundations will continue to crumble.

However, I find comfort in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah when I think about the state of our country. While many Christians (and theologians) see impending judgment when comparing the Genesis account to America’s cultural climate, I see the mercy that God extended before the judgment.

God said that if there were just ten righteous people in Sodom, God would extend his mercy.

Do we have ten righteous people in California? Do we have ten righteous people in New York? What about Texas, Washington, North Carolina and all the other states that the enemy wants to destroy?

Let’s never forget to pray for our country. Let’s never forget that the prayer closet is more powerful than the voting booth.

Please pray for America.

3 Simple Ways to Become a Better Christian

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God loves you where you are, but He loves you too much to let you stay there. He doesn’t want you to stand still, stuck in time – He wants you to be better, know better, and choose better. God wants us to become more and more like Him. Below are just three things we need to do if we want to look more like Christ, and less like ourselves.

  1. Pray – Christians without prayer are like fish without water. Prayer isn’t an option on the Christian journey – it’s a necessity. Prayer brings us closer to God and His Will for our lives.
  2. Trust – This sounds so simple, and yet it’s so hard, and it’s so necessary. Peace comes when we remove trust in others, ourselves, and the things around us, and trust in Him. God has asked us repeatedly throughout scripture to trust Him.
  3. CHOOSE to be faithful, Godly, and filled with love – Life is full of choices. We can choose blessings or cursings, and God wants us to choose blessings! Make the right choice, daily.

The Three Daily Rituals That Bring Me Immense Peace

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One of the most important things I’ve learned in my 30’s is the importance of routine. As a certified bohemian, I’ve always rejected routines and rituals. For years, I thought that routines were for ‘boring’ people who had lost their sense of spontaneity and wonder. Now, I relish routines and rituals. Below are three daily rituals that bring me immense peace.

My Morning Routine

My morning routine is quite simplistic – I wake up before my son gets up so that I can work on client projects, write, think, have a cup of tea, eat breakfast, but the most vital part of this routine is prayer. I pray every morning because If I don’t, my day doesn’t feel right. I don’t just pray in the mornings – I read scripture aloud – I think and meditate on Scripture, and I’m a better person because of it. Once my son awakes, I’m ready to face the day with peace in heart and mind. I still haven’t perfected my night time routine, but at least I know how to start my day and anchor it so that it’s a peaceful and productive one.

Spending Time in Worship

One evening, I felt odd, like something was off, or missing. It suddenly dawned on me that the feeling of unease was the absence of God’s presence. Now, don’t get me wrong – I understand that God is omnipresent – I understand that He is always there – but there is a difference in God’s omniscience and God’s glory resting in your heart and home. When God is present, there is a peace that permeates the soul. I didn’t feel the peace in my soul.  As I lay in bed that night, I wondered why God felt so far, when I heard the Holy Spirit say one word… “Worship!” That morning the first thing that I did as soon as I got up was worship. I danced and sang around my living room. The moment I began to worship I could immediately feel the presence of God. When the Psalmist said that God inhabits the praise of His people, this stanza wasn’t just figurative, but literal. Worship changes the atmosphere of a home and heart. Worship brings a Philippians 4:7 peace into a place.

Making Time for My Family

Writing, teaching, and coaching is my ‘second’ ministry. My family is my first ministry. Before we go into the world to help and love others, we must first help and love our family. Hugging my son and smooching my husband bring me peace. We were created to love each other – love, time and affection with others bring too many physical and mental benefits to count. However, there is also a spiritual benefit to loving those who God has placed under the same roof as you – the benefit of immense peace.

Praying the Hours: We Need Spiritual Discipline

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Acts 3:1 – One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer–at three in the afternoon.

When I first heard of praying the hours, I thought it sounded mystical – I assumed it was a spiritual practice associated with monastics or nuns. I was a little surprised to learn that praying the hours, also known as fixed-hour prayer is one of the oldest forms of spiritual disciplines, which roots back to Judaism.

Most people in the modern Protestant church are unfamiliar with the idea of praying the hours – or having a set, disciplined schedule of prayer. Yet praying the hours is a beautiful ancient practice seen in scripture.

King David perfectly understood the idea of praying the hours. In Psalm 119 (the Psalm of renewal) we learn that he prayed seven times a day.

Some might argue that by forcing yourself to pray each day (at appointed times) you are practicing vain religion – but I would counter that prayer at set times – even if it feels devoid of deep, emotional meaning is a way to become spiritually stronger.

Praying when you don’t feel like it isn’t a useless spiritual vanity. On the contrary, this is precisely when we need to pray – when we don’t feel like it.

Millions of people go to a gym each day, even when it’s tough, even when they’d rather stay home, even when their body is tired, and they would rather sleep longer. However, millions wake early for the gym because they understand that if they force themselves to go they will become healthier, slimmer, and stronger – praying the hours has the same effect.

Yeshua woke His disciples as night drew near. He forced them awake to pray. They were tired, exhausted even. However, Yeshua wasn’t going to wait for the disciples to feel motivated. He wasn’t going to wait until ‘inspiration’ struck and the disciples felt compelled to pray – He woke them to pray because the hour was nigh.

These are the last days.

The hour is nigh.

Let’s wake up and pray, even when we don’t want to.

Prayer Can Move the Earth… Literally

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Acts 4:31- And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

An earthquake occurs in the book of Acts – there is no other way to describe what took place in natural, scientific terms other than to refer to it as an earthquake. The Christians were praying, and their prayers shook the earth.

We can speculate for days about why the place shook after they prayed. Perhaps it shook because principalities were being dethroned in the spiritual realm. Perhaps it was shaking because the Holy Spirit was coming to fill those who were praying, and the earth shakes at the presence of God. Perhaps the earthquake was a prophetic sign and symbol of the great shaking that the apostles were about to bring upon the earth as they gained the boldness to preach the Gospel and turn the world upside down.

Or maybe it shook to remind us of the power of prayer.

Prayer is powerful. It’s one of the most powerful weapons that a Christian has in their arsenal. I believe fully and deeply in the power of prayer. I so believe in prayer that I don’t go a single day without it. I’ve even written a book about it.

Prayer is powerful. Prayer can move the earth. Prayer can bring the Holy Spirit into a place. Prayer can produce boldness. Prayer can turn the world upside down.

Let’s not forget to pray.