nonfiction vol 22: gratitude

(You can watch the Gratitude recap here.)

Nonfiction Vol 22 is a wrap. All the guests have left, the confetti has been swept away (well, sort of), the mess has been cleaned up. Our lives have resumed and Thanksgiving has been celebrated. It’s the Monday after the Monday after.

So much to process and reflect upon and remember.

He spoke. He spoke corporately and He spoke individually. He listened. He listened to the beautiful and the agony and even to the silence. He embraced. He knelt in the mud beside our chair and our couch and let our blood and our tears and our gore and angst run all down His garments.

We won’t forget. We will praise Him again and again. We will do the hard work. We will allow Him to change us into a better version of who we were created to be. All we have left is a heart filled with Hallelujah.

who are you?

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly;
and I pray God your whole
spirit and soul and body
be preserved blameless unto the
coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 (KJV)

Well, for starters, I am a slow learner. Because so many lessons in my life which are blatantly obvious now were hidden from me for decades. Sometimes I DO wish we could go back and start over, ya know?

1 Thessalonians 5:23 is one of those lessons which has layers and layers of revelation and which can either empower and propel us into an exhilarating dimension or push us into the ground and bury us under layers of exhausted, depleted drudgery which actually forces us into an early grave.

I was probably headed to the early grave until God in His mercy began to reveal this verse to me in incremental stages. This isn’t an article; it’s just a blog post, so I will summarize a few of the points briefly and let you get on with the business of discovering the meaning of all this for yourself.

The inspired, living Word says we are a 3-part being: spirit, soul, and body. Three in one. A triune being in one person. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it! It should sound familiar since we were created in His image . . . Three parts to the whole. Spirit. Soul. Body. In that order.

What ARE those parts? Knowing there is much left out which could fill pages, here is a succinct summary:

Spirit ~ the part of us that is the God-element. The part which lives forever. The part which is consumed by HIS Spirit when we allow Him inside and receive His gift of taking over our spirit.

Soul ~ the part of us that defines our outward expression. Our mind. Our choices, our emotions, our style of processing. Our persona.

Body ~ the physical part of us which houses the other two parts.

So what’s the big deal?

Well, in my humble opinion, the big deal is that religious people spend a massive amount of time trying to make the spirit part come into alignment (which is right and good and must be done.) But, in the process, many times the soul is neglected. So, a great chasm begins to emerge and widen between the spirit and the soul. The soul becomes depleted by the activation of the disciplines of the spirit and a dry, burned-out, flat-line version of a shell emerges which is NOT where the Spirit thrives, so consequently, the spirit then begins suffering. (Yes, the capital letters and non-capital letters are intentional. Take note of that.)

These two elements live within the body, so when they are no in alignment, guess what suffers? Yes. The body. So, physical ailments begin to manifest and diseases begin to insidiously attack and chaos ensues.

What can be done?

Well, again, I have a humble opinion.

Since the spirit needs to be ruled by the Spirit, that should be the foundational focus. Because if the spirit is drawing from the wrong source, the soul and body are also going to suffer. The spirit needs daily God-connection in order to have the right information from which the soul can make its choices.

The soul must then let the Spirit dictate what it does. The choices the mind makes, the thoughts the mind thinks, the emotions which must be processed from life experiences must all spring from the filter of the Spirit. However–and this is a biggie–the soul cannot deny itself the function for which it was created. It must continually be refilled from “the riches of His glory” (“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;” [Ephesians3:16]). The “riches of His glory” includes all of the beauty He has provided for us to fill our souls–our emotional selves–the part of us which loves and needs and craves beauty and emotional fulfillment.

Nature is part of the “riches of His glory.” The mountains, the sea, the sky, the forest, the gurgling stream, the changing leaves. Love is part of the “riches of His glory.” The emotional connection between spouses, families, friends and animals. Music and laughter and gathering around a table were all made possible by Him to us in order so we may be able to be strengthened in our inner man.

So when our spirits are filled by His Spirit, when our souls are replenished from the riches of His glory, our bodies have a head start on health and energy and replenishing sleep and longevity. The body is truly at the mercy of the spirit and the soul. Our choices, our lifestyles, our damaged emotions, our negative approach to life will guarantee our bodies will struggle. But turn that around and it is amazing how the body thrives!

Isn’t it ironic that we try to stuff our spirit full, but totally neglect our soul and make wrong choices in our food, our goals, our connections, our relationships, our physical disciplines and, consequently, wind up with all kinds of health challenges and then beg God to supernaturally heal us? Do you ever wonder if He just wants to sometimes say, “If you would stop eating carbs and processed foods at 9:00 pm and if you would stop pouring yourself out in areas I have not asked you to and if you would take some time to be still and know and if you would stop being so mean to people and just lighten up and learn to love them even if they don’t do things the way you think they should be done, well, then, your body might just heal itself!”

But He probably doesn’t say that because He is God and He is good and kind and I am not God and we are all glad I am not.

Bottom line?

Make sure your spirit has daily God-connection.

Make sure your soul has consistent filling from the riches of His glory which He created for that purpose.

Make right choices with your body in the areas of rest and food and exercise and discipline.

That’s the only way we will ever know the best version of you.

the best girl.

11/25/07 – 10/30/22

She came to us on a cold night in January, 2008. Born on November 25, 2007, she was just a tiny little ball of black fur who had just found her growl and was enjoying using it as she stole our socks.

Bradyn said her name was Roxy. And she was the best Roxy of all Roxys.

She was barely a year old when she fell in the freezing cold swimming pool on a Sunday afternoon and the golden retriever went crazy barking barking barking until she got my attention in the house and I ran outside half-dressed and jumped in that cold water right before she went under. We were both traumatized and lots of tears and thank you Gods were shed and spoken.

A few years later, she went for a routine checkup and while the vet was examining her, she touched a place on her side that was painful and inflamed and knew immediately something was wrong. She did an x-ray and found a NEEDLE inside this baby’s intestine. I had been sewing a button on a red dress and the needle had dropped on the floor and naturally, she thought it was a treat. Don’t ALL dogs eat needles as treats? She. swallowed. a. needle.

The vet said it would have to be morning before she could do the surgery to remove it. The next morning, she did x-rays to make sure the needle had not moved and was still there, only to find . . . nothing. No needle. No red thread. Nothing. She went outside to where she had done her morning business and there it was! Red thread still attached. She had passed that needle. Without damaging her insides. GO FIGURE!!! How does that even happen?

For all those who say God doesn’t hear prayers about dogs, you can just close the door quietly behind you on your way out.

So much defined her time with us. Years of personal illness, pain, death, and loss. Life changes, moves across the country, long road trips, long separations, and several other furry intruders who invaded her space.

We almost lost her two years ago. And although she survived, her sight began to go and then her hearing and then her back legs began giving out. Daily life was just becoming so hard for her. We had made the decision it was her time, but she did it her way two days early. We knew it was coming and it has still knocked us back on our heels. Non-dog-lovers just can’t understand.

How do you even begin to honor a creature who was your comfort, your solace, your non-judgmental anchor and whose big brown eyes could see straight through to your soul?

I don’t think I have found an adequate way to do that.

If God chooses to allow the pets of the redeemed to be in heaven, that will be just wonderful.

Rest well, Roxem Foxem. Your family will always love you.

the salt. the light. the simplicity.

I am ingesting the Sermon on the Mount verse by verse these days and the verse below was my morning contemplation. As I pondered and reflected, I was reminded of an article I wrote several years ago for a publication which centered around these verses. It’s a little longer than my normal blog posts, so if you don’t have time to read it all, that’s fine. But I was reminded of some things which the car horns and revving engines and scowling faces I meet every day cause me to so easily forget. If you have time, let this be a reminder.

13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

14 Ye are the light of the world.
A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 5:13-16

About two years after my father passed away, the phone rang one afternoon at my mom’s home.  The gentlemen on the other end of the line asked for my father by name, and my mom, thinking it was probably a telemarketing call, answered quite curtly that he was deceased.  There was silence on the other end for a second and then the man said, “I am so sorry.  I didn’t know.”  It took him a few seconds to collect his thoughts and then he proceeded to tell my mom why he was calling.

“Your husband and I served in the Korean War together,” he said.  “I live in the western United States now and was traveling through the area on my way to Florida.  I was hoping to be able to just stop and have coffee with him again even though it has been years since we’ve been in touch.”  He and my mother talked a few minutes about Dad’s untimely death, then the man began to reminisce about his memories of my father.

“I’ve never forgotten him.  He was the most unique individual I’ve ever met.  There was no doubt that he was a strong Christian, but I never felt condemned around him—just strengthened.  While stationed in Korea, every time we would get a pass, we would go to the nearest town and do what most soldiers do—visit the clubs, find the dance floors, pick up women.  Your husband never did any of those things.  He would always find a restaurant or a place to shop and, knowing we might be too drunk to drive home, he would wait to make sure we didn’t get into trouble.  Then he would get us back in the car and sing hymns as he drove us all the way back to camp.  I’ve never forgotten the impact he had on me.  He made me want to be a Christian.  When I got home, he was the reason I found a church and gave my life to the Lord.”  

As I have read the Matthew passage about salt and light through the years, I have often thought of that story.  Nothing profound, nothing elaborate or extravagant. 

Just a simple man living out a simple principle.

My husband’s father passed away at the age of 41.  Although he had been ill for several years, he had never lost sight of the fact that his mission was to be salt and light.  After his death, my husband was cleaning out his father’s car and found a stack of 3 x 5 cards which had the names of people he was “caring for”—the clerk at the grocery store, a fellow patient at the kidney dialysis center, the neighbor down the street.  His illness and pain were extreme, but he innately understood that his mission went far beyond the physical condition of his body.  There were 35 cards in all. Those 35 plus the countless others who came before will testify in eternity about the point in life when their humanity encountered the everlasting. 

Just a simple man living out a simple principle.

When unpacking these verses of scripture, it is fascinating to delve into the properties of salt and the obvious parallels that Jesus was drawing with His words. 

Salt is a preservative, it is an irritant, it is necessary for flavor, and it creates thirst.  As Christians, we should be the same.  We should get out into the world we so abhor if we are going to slow down the rate of degeneration at all.  We must understand that Jesus called us salt, not sugar, and that although we would love to be that which sweetens every situation, in reality we may be the irritant that provokes healing.  As flavor-givers, we don’t have to dominate a circumstance in order to cause it to take on a different flavor.  And finally, just our very presence should create a thirst for God in those who do not know Him. 

The properties of light are also relatively obvious.  A little bit goes a long way.  Without light, there is only confusion, chaos, and darkness.  Light cheers and brightens, light guides one in the dark, and light reveals danger.  Again, the parallels between light and the Christian life are readily evident.  We are to brighten our world, our lives should be a guide to those around us, and we should always be alert to the deceptions of the enemy. 

What simple, profound examples these are.  It is interesting that Jesus only took up four verses presenting these essential principles to us.  He didn’t go into the details of what salt does or why it is vital to our lives.  He didn’t explain what light does or why we so desperately need it to survive.  He just said, “You’re the salt.  Don’t lose your flavor.  You’re the light.  Shine brightly in very public places.   Let it illuminate your good works.”   He then moved on to other things.

Jesus just introduced a simple principle which He plainly felt His listeners would comprehend the first time around.

So why have we made this so hard?

Salt and light infiltrate every element of the world’s existence.  These two components of life are found in every segment of society, in every third-world country and remote island, in every densely inhabited and remotely populated portion of the world.  Salt and light permeate the good, the pure, and the beautiful as well as the bad, the defiled, and the ugly.  Salt doesn’t attempt to keep its flavor or its potency by confining itself to the salt box.  Light understands that its greatest moments of responsibility come when the darkness is dense and complete. 

So why have we made this so hard?

Jesus didn’t entrust His mission to an assembly of educated, wealthy, talented people with multiple resources that could wow the world with the Word.  He just sat the faithful ones down and told them, “YOU are salt.  YOU are light.  Seep through every substance and crack.  Go where it’s decaying and help to preserve.  Help to heal even when it hurts.  Maintain your relationship with Me so that others will thirst for it.  Shine in every dark corner you find.  Work.  Work hard.  Because when they see your good works, they will know it’s Me, not you.”

So why have we made this so hard?

Is it because we have made the gospel a commodity, a product, goods that we feel we are here to sell to a corrupt and dark world?  Is it because we have become salesmen of the gospel instead of children of God?   Have we become salt shakers and candle holders instead of salt and light?  Salesmen can successfully sell their product without ever using it themselves.  Salt shakers are only inhibitors of salt.  Candleholders by themselves offer no light at all. Is it so complicated simply because we have tried to wrap God in an acceptable package which has totally hidden who He is?

Have we become salt shakers and candle holders
instead of salt and light?

Jesus said we were salt and light.  He didn’t say we were representatives of salt and light.  He didn’t say we were carriers of salt and light.  He knew His plan for humanity and knew that the only way for the world to know was to transform His children into His essence.

Salt and light are absolutely ineffective unless they are in the process of being used.  Unless we permeate our entire world which surrounds us—the good, the corrupt, the decaying, the bland—we are nothing more than a salt shaker.  Unless we let our essence that is Him shine in every corner of our lives and those around us, we are not light.  We are only a candle holder.

Teaching Home Bible studies, holding street meetings, singing in the choir, knocking on doors, and all the myriad ways we attempt to reach the world with His message are wonderful.  Everyone needs to be involved in an evangelistic endeavor with their local assembly.  But if we are truly salt and light, everyone we touch in our own personal world will be affected every single day.

Salt isn’t afraid of becoming corrupt—its inherent properties keep it from losing its form.  No other spices or properties can destroy salt’s savor.  Light knows that darkness can never overtake it.  Just one small flame can dispel the most oppressive obscurity.  Darkness can never overtake light.

When we are transformed into His essence, we are no longer just a salesman selling a great product.  When we constantly live in daily relationship with Him, we realize we are the salt and not the shaker.  When He is in charge, the light overcomes the darknss.  The candleholder may be destroyed by time or circumstances, but the light shines on and on.  Our works simply become byproducts of who we are and, in turn, He is glorified.

Jesus never intended for it to be complicated.

Just simple people living out simple principles. 

be still

So as I have been doing the hard work of studying to be quiet, the Lord thundered another Word in my spirit during yet another one of my sessions of angst.

Around the beginning of this year – fully a year and half since the time He first declared to me quite emphatically to “study to be quiet,” – we were having a conversation, He and I. I was lamenting about the lack of energy and strength and vitality which I felt should be mine as I go about doing the work and said to Him, “You told me to study to be quiet. I have done that. I feel I have learned from that. What is my next assignment? I have worked on being quiet and now I am ready to get up and move forward! Thank you for ‘making me lie down in green pastures’ for a while, Lord. You’re so kind. Now what’s next?”

And you know what He said? I seriously was just speechless. He said, “Be still. Just be still. Be still and KNOW. Be still and know that I AM. Be still and know that I AM GOD.”

“Be still and know that I am God.”

Psalm 46:10

In other words, if He had been speaking through a parent, it would have come out as “Sit down and be quiet. And don’t make me tell you again.”

Dutifully chastised, I bowed my head and whispered, “Ok. I hear You. I will.”

As He felt the drop in my spirit and the frustration which I was trying so very hard to keep in check, He settled in for a conversation. “Being still doesn’t mean I do not need you nor want you working for me. Being still doesn’t mean you can’t move forward. Being still doesn’t mean you have to take all of your dreams and goals and vision I have given you and lock them away in a drawer somewhere and sit and stare at the wall. That’s not what ‘be[ing] still and know[ing] that I am God’ means.”

Oh the beauty of what He began speaking to my heart that day and the conversation that has continued in the months and weeks since. I have learned so many things.

I have learned that being still is when His voice is clearest and loudest.

I have learned that being still is when my spirit is centered, my soul is restored, and my body achieves complete rest and renewal.

I have learned that being still requires an emptying of the voices around me which tell me who I am supposed to be, what I am supposed to be, why I should be doing all of the things, and why the world is going to fall apart around me if I don’t get up and go right now.

I have learned that being still fills my heart and mind with beauty, with joy, with the things which restore my virtue.

I have learned that being still allows me to once again experience the times of my life which were the most peaceful, had the deepest meaning, and which I thought might possibly have been completely stolen by the years and lost forever. I have found them again in the stillness with Him.

I have learned that being still is His gift to me.

be quiet

Be quiet.

The gray, white, and brown of the landscape makes me think the winter artist paid a visit to Chip and Joanna at the Silos and gained inspiration from the color scheme they have made famous. The spaces of silence are broken periodically by the red cardinal pecking at the window for his daily “hello” or the sound of a piece of ice breaking off the roof and falling to the deck. I am alone–a rarity for me. I live in a busy, bustling, noisy house with people running in and out and never knowing who will knock on the door. That is a blessing. People are a blessing and a gift and I am thankful for them. But on this gray and white and brown day with snow falling, the people are all in other towns and other places and the massive sound of silence startles me and causes me to stop. Sit down. Pick up the journal and the pen, but don’t write just yet. Listen.

Be quiet.

We are coming up on a year now since the powers that be mandated that we all just stop and go home because sickness had invaded the world. We travel for a living. Like all the time. Like 8 days out of 10, sleeping in another bed in another city or another country and almost always another time zone. And the mandate said, “Go home. Stay there.” So, we did. All of a sudden, it was back to cooking our own food if we wanted to eat. It was worshipping with our own family if we experienced worship. It was playing board games if we wanted entertainment. The kitchen cabinets did experience a transformation from brown to black and so did a few doors and some new pictures appeared on the walls and the pile of curtains in the corners assumed their places over the windows. But after the projects were done and we felt rested and had frozen meals to last for weeks, “normal” did not return and it was “now what?”

One morning, I was alone in my room while the rest of the house buzzed and hummed and I sat with His Word and my journal and wrote the question, “Lord, I have never been in this place before. What do you want out of me in this season?” I raised my pen, ready to write the answer. Almost immediately, it came: “Study to be quiet.”

Be quiet.

Okay, Lord. I hear You. I wrote it down. I knew it was from the New Testament, but didn’t know where, so I looked it up. And it said, “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;” (1 Thessalonians 4:11). I wonder why the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write that? Was Thessalonica in the middle of a pandemic and people didn’t know how to handle it? Probably not, but it still makes me wonder why.

I have been to the modern city of Thessaloniki and have wandered down in the areas in which Paul probably walked. I have seen the bustling seaport and the old stone tower in which prisoners were thrown for whatever offenses they had committed. The ancient city center was a bustling arena of humanity and probably hasn’t changed much through the centuries since that verse was written. To be honest, on my visit there I didn’t feel so very different as I feel going around in my own town and living my daily life. Lots of market stalls, cafes and restaurants, transportation options, people being people. Separated by centuries, but not separated at all by spirits and by need for love and by grasping for significance and the driving desire to be recognized as having worth.

Be quiet.

Paul told them to study to be quiet. Being quiet doesn’t come naturally. Even the most soft-spoken among us has a need to be heard and to make our voice known. So, if we are going to have to be quiet, we must study how to do it.

The only textbook I know which can teach that is the Word of God. I don’t think we will learn how to be quiet on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. I don’t think being quiet is part of the curriculum as we text all the live long day to whomever, wherever, whatever we feel we need to say. It takes effort to be quiet in this radical, noisy world. It takes effort to be quiet when everybody around us is losing their head and becoming a different personality like a chameleon every other minute.

Be quiet.

I have no doubt that was the Voice of God to me that morning. And as we navigate through these stormy, blinding waters of these strange days, is it perhaps the Voice of God to you? Lord, how do I manage this new life? How do I homeschool the kids as I do my job from the office in the closet? How do I teach the Bible stories as we sit in the living room instead of on the church pew? How do I be the leader in ministry I’m supposed to be when the rules are changing every other day? How do I do this? How do I do that?

Be quiet.

Find a place of solitude for 15 minutes and take a pen, your journal, and your Bible. Write down the “How do I…” questions. Then, be quiet. Listen. He will answer you.

Be quiet.

the filter of first

“I can’t think in the morning. My body gets up, but my brain doesn’t wake up until noon.”

“I am SO not a morning person.”

“My mornings are chaotic. No way can I connect with God.”

“I’m a young mom. I haven’t slept through the night in forever. I have to drag myself out of bed way too early as it is. I simply cannot connect with God in the mornings.”

“I already get up at 5:00 a.m. to go to work. And now you are saying I have to get up earlier than that? That’s legalistic and extreme. I can talk to God anytime during the day and He hears me.”

We have all heard it.  We have probably all said it in one form or another at one time or another.  But regardless of our personal opinions and preferences, there is no denying the compelling case that the Word makes for meeting God in the mornings. 

Whatever you do first in the day is the filter through which everything else in the day passes.

Whatever you do first in the day is the filter through which everything else in the day passes.

  • If you start with texting, you are beginning your day through the filter of earthly relationships.
  • If you start with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you are beginning your day through the filter of the thoughts and activities of other people.
  • If you start your day with internet, you are beginning your day through the filter of earthly events, crises, and situations.
  • If you start your day with conversation, you are beginning your day through the filter of the needs of your home.

Let your first thoughts be thoughts of Him.

Let your first words be words to Him.

Let your first communication be from Him through His Word.

If your day begins through the filter of His Word and communication with Him, everything else that happens in the day takes on a totally different hue.

“Be still and know that I am God.”
Psalm 46:10

The filter of first.

Keep reading.  These are not my words, they are His…

Psalm 108:2-“Awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.”

Psalm 143:8-“Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.”

Proverbs 8:17-“I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.”

Mark 1:37-“And in the morning rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.”

Isaiah 50:4-“The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.”

Psalm 5:3-“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.”

Psalm 55:17-“Evening, morning, and at noon will I pray and cry aloud and he shall hear my voice.”

Psalm 57:8-“Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.”

Psalm 63:1-“O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee:”

Let the Filter of First guide every single day of your life.

© 2014 by Melani Brady Shock

revelation prayer

Below is the prayer printed on the bookmark contained in the Eat This Book study.  It should be prayed each time we open the Scriptures. I keep it in my Bible at the spot where I will begin reading each day. . .

Dear Lord.
Thank you for this day.
Thank you for your goodness and kindness toward me.
As I open the pages of your Words to me, I ask that you speak to me.
Open my eyes to see.
Open my ears to hear.
Give understanding to my mind.
Fill my heart with your love.
Fill my soul with your peace.
Reveal to me what you would have me know and understand from
this Logos. . .this Living Word. . .this day.
I will accept, embrace, and obey your Word.
I give you praise and thanksgiving for allowing me
such intimate communion with you.

© 2012 by Melani Brady Shock

the nona freeman prayer for night people

(originally posted on 12/15/2011)

My daughter recently tweeted about praying the “Nona Freeman prayer” and how God took her up on it and she wasn’t sure if she was glad about that or not. (Posted tongue-in-cheek, of course.) We got several questions as to what we were talking about and the explanation takes up more than the 140 characters Twitter allots.

Here is the story behind what we call “The Nona Freeman Prayer for Night People”:

Nona Freeman was a veteran missionary for many years to Africa.  She told incredible stories and  probably died with more stories in her head and heart than ever came out. 

She was a woman of faith and of prayer and a believer that God could and would do anything for His people…the problem was/is that we just don’t ask Him enough and specifically.

She described herself as a night person.  One who was more alert in the evening, who would rather stay up late and sleep later in the morning.  She was not one who woke up early, chirping with the birds, and ready to conquer the world.  That came later in the day.  She was a night person.

However, she was a firm believer that God needed the first part of our day.  Therefore, she knew that in order to give that to Him, she must not sleep until the last minute, but must wake up earlier than necessary in order to have time with Him.  So, she prayed a prayer that went something like this:  “Lord, I know that I need to talk to you first thing in the morning.  But it is so hard for me to wake up and even though I set my alarm to get up earlier, I end up shutting it off to sleep until the last possible minute.  So Lord, I’m asking you to wake me up 30 minutes early every morning.  YOU wake me up.  Don’t let me go back to sleep.  Wake up my mind and my heart so that You and I can have quality time together before our day begins.  I want to, Lord, but my flesh is weak.  So YOU help me.  YOU wake me up!”

I heard her tell this story at our church when I was just a young girl and will never forget when she said, “And the Lord has done just that.  Regardless of what time I go to bed or how little sleep I have received, He always wakes me up 30 minutes before I must begin my day.”

I didn’t pray that prayer for many years, because I am the ultimate Night Person and, quite honestly, didn’t want God to answer it.  (Confession.) But as I matured in Him, I realized that it was absolutely vital that I spend time with him FIRST before anything else had a chance to enter my mind, my heart, and my spirit in the morning.  I realized all the scriptures in the Word that speak of spending time with Him first in the day, and was convicted.  So, I prayed the prayer.  He not only wakes me up 30 minutes early…He usually wakes me up 1 – 1 1/2 hours early!  And I’m fine with it!  I love it…there is no sweeter communion than the communion of first fruits.

I have challenged many of the young women in our church to pray that prayer.  I have tried to convey the necessity, the beauty, the love, the wonder that comes with meeting with Him first in the day.  I let them know they must mean it before they pray it, because He WILL answer it.

So, it takes them a while.  It’s serious business.  And when they are finally ready to get serious about it, they pray it.  And He answers them.

It’s “The Nona Freeman Prayer for Night People.” 

It’s a prayer that will change your life if you are willing to allow your life to be changed.

© 2011 by Melani Brady Shock