A fine white mantle of fog rests on the fields at dawn. I went to the deck to retrieve the coffee cup I left outside overnight, and it seems I’ve encountered God on the journey. I sink onto the damp patio chair in the corner of the deck, and the chill of the dew on my bare legs feels like an awakening. An awakening to what is uncomfortable and raw – real and tangible.
Dew on flesh. Fog on young goldenrod chutes. This earth breathing life and promise and hope.
It’s so exhilarating that I fill my coffee cup inside and return to the chair with a jacket and my Bible. I forget the bookmarked app on my computer – the one that tells me what to read each morning, and I open tattered pages to Psalms:
Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy Before the Lord, for He is coming, For He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness And the peoples in His faithfulness. (Psalm 96:12-13)
I close my eyes and drink black coffee. I consider what it will look like to live this day as a woman who honors God and lives with the expectancy of a bride, waiting for her groom.
I think of the words of Jesus: ““You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).
His words ring true. Loving God must come first. Have I kept it first?
Before anything else, my life is about my relationship with God. It’s about drawing close to him and growing in relationship with him. I am deeply convicted as I reflect on what my prayer time often looks like. I’m convicted that I’ve spent too much time asking for things, praying for direction, praying for ministry needs, and praying over priorities.
While all of these things are important, what is most important is that I learn to rest in God’s love. What’s most important is that we grow in relationship through these quiet, set-apart moments. My life is primarily about this relationship with God. The way I carry his love to the world is secondary.
A mourning dove coos, and I realize I haven’t kept the first thing first. I’ve put praying for direction above basking in his affection. Looking at the fields, it’s all so clear: He wants to wrap me in his tender affection like the fog that shrouds the fields at dawn. He wants to cover me in the warmth of his love and stay together in this place.
Tim Keller says it like this: “Prayer is both conversation and encounter with God. . . . We must know the awe of praising his glory, the intimacy of finding his grace, and the struggle of asking his help, all of which can lead us to know the spiritual reality of his presence.”
This time is first about basking in his presence. The priorities, decisions, and requests will flow from this place. I sit long on the damp chair and don’t do much at all. I rest in him.
I think of the words of Mother Teresa in an interview with Dan Rather.
“When you pray, what do you say to God? Rather asked.
“I don’t say anything,” she replied. “I listen.”
“Okay. When God speaks to you, then, what does he say?” Rather tried again.
“He doesn’t say anything. He listens.”
Baffled, Rather didn’t know how to continue.
“And if you don’t understand that, I can’t explain it to you.” Mother Teresa concluded.
And so we sit. In the stillness. In the newness of an emerging day, we sit in silent communion, and I don’t plan a single part of my day or seek direction over a single priority. When the coffee is gone and the fog begins to lift with the silent chorus of a rising sun, I rise with it, and I’ve never felt more certain of what matters most.
Keller, Timothy. Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God (New York: Penguin Books, 2014).
Mother Teresa, quoted in Chuck Swindoll, So You Want to Be Like Christ? Eight Essentials to Get You There (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2005).
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