Early Morning Prayer: When You are Willing to Pay a Cost


I am not a morning person.

As in, I usually sleep through mornings. So you could say we’ve become unacquainted. But this week, I decided to go to early morning prayer.

In Korea, early morning prayer is a staple of the church. Crowds of middle-aged women (and others) faithfully arise with the sun to seek God’s face and intercede on behalf of their loved ones.

Some would call it beautiful. Some would call it overly religious.

I personally don’t know if I could make it a life habit, but I enjoyed it as a one-time thing (or possibly two-time thing).

There is something special about the morning. I had forgotten that. The air is cooler, the world quieter, and the light fresher somehow. Watching school children catch buses and older folks walk their dogs, I was tempted to not even go to the prayer meeting, but to just walk around staring up at the clouds for an hour instead.

But I did go, and despite being quite tired now, I’m very glad I did.

The Cost

Something special happens when you are willing to pay a cost.

Not that we should ever bargain with God or think that we could earn something from Him. Not that God is such a hard master that He demands payment for things. God gives freely––if we really understood that, we would probably live quite differently than we do––but God also knows how to reward those who seek Him.

When we pay a cost to seek Him, God responds.

Unless I’m willing to pay a cost, I don’t really want something, whether it’s a pair of shoes or a deeper level of intimacy with a person. When I pay a cost, I gain clarity. Oh, I really value this person. Oh, this isn’t just a habit or the path of least resistance, this is something I want. That clarity in itself is valuable, but God gives even more.

The Reward

I didn’t know exactly what I wanted that morning when I rolled out of bed at 6:30am and got myself out the door. I just knew I wanted Him. Whatever that meant for today. God is always the same, right? So sometimes it can feel redundant seeking Him. But somehow, God always has new things to say.

Or maybe not even new things, just the right things in the right moment.

Usually what happens is that God uncovers some sadness, some disappointment or hurt I’ve been hiding down in the deep dark part of my heart. I’ve hidden it so deep that I’ve started to believe it doesn’t exist. But with one gentle touch, it all comes to the surface. Ugly, confusing, shattering.

And that’s when God says something utterly unexpected that sends a beam of light precisely pinpointed on that tender spot. What was dark isn’t dark anymore. What was scary or heavy has become lighter. And I am changed.

God is always the same, but somehow, as I behold His face, God keeps changing me.


What cost are you willing to pay to go deeper in your relationship with Him?



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Elizabeth is a teacher, preacher, musician, and writer. She has a Master's of Divinity and a Master's of Music, which represent her two great loves: Jesus and the arts. A half-Korean, half-white American, she spent seven years in South Korea teaching English. Elizabeth is a perpetual learner, a deep feeler, and a pursuer of beauty and truth.

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