Last week, while I was in the middle of a funk,
a state in which I couldn’t see opportunities, only burdens, a friend told me I should stay up all night to pray (for my church’s 24/7 prayer week).
It seemed like an impractical suggestion. Maybe if I was really hungry for God. Maybe if I had a lot of time to kill. But I needed to prepare for my upcoming piano recital (one of the burdens), do things, get my life in order. And when is screwing up your sleep cycle ever convenient?
That was Tuesday night. By Wednesday afternoon, I had decided to do it.
The more I thought about it, the more I felt like it was something I needed. To do something completely impractical, something I was completely not in the mood to do, something I’d never done before.
I wasn’t sure what I would accomplish, and I refused to expect to receive supernatural piano-playing ability or something because of it, as if I could earn special points by doing something “holy,” but I just decided to trust Him.
I decided I would do it as a way of showing I valued Him more than anything else.
Immediately, clarity descended.
The burdens I had been carrying begin to lift. I had an awesome practice session that day–not only productive, but enjoyable. One of those practice sessions where things suddenly click and passages that had seemed impossible or dull become easy and full of life.
Just the decision to put Him first changed everything.
Then I spent all of Thursday night at the prayer tabernacle, and it was awesome.
It was a night of worship, prayer, singing, dancing, reading Scripture, meditation, and divine appointments. (I’d been praying for the right opportunity to talk to my small group leader about something that had been on my mind for some time, and lo and behold, she happened to be there!)
I don’t know if I can really quantify what happened or specify how it changed me (though I will say that I reached a new level of freedom in worship around midnight while dancing in the back of the room with my eyes closed during an improvisatory worship set), but it was just so good.
The missed night of sleep didn’t feel like a sacrifice. Nothing I gave up felt like a sacrifice, because His presence was so good. I returned home the next morning utterly refreshed.
It reminded me that time spent with God is never wasted time.
That is the most counter-cultural, counter-intuitive, counter-logical, counter-whatever statement, but it’s really true. Simply soaking in His presence is probably the best way you could ever spend your time. Because He is God. There is nothing and no one more beautiful, more intelligent, more wise, more interesting, more nourishing, or more surprising than Him.
When is the last time you went out of your way to seek Him?