“I can’t believe I’m wide awake!” This has been my thought on more than one occasion as I found myself up in the middle of the night. After slowly opening my eyes, I realized that I was once again wide awake very early in the morning. Because I am still a little tired, I hesitate to look at my alarm clock. I know that it was early, but I don’t want to see how early it was just yet. I finally I turn my head and squint my eyes trying to make out the fuzzy blue numbers on the digital alarm clock. 3:07 am was staring back at me; I groaned because I actually still had 1 full hour before I had to get ready for work. I know God speaks to us and wants us to speak to him at all times of the day, but I thought, “Can I just get a few more minutes of sleep and talk to you while I’m driving to work?”
I’d been through this enough times to know that even expecting an answer to that was ridiculous and I was better off praying than trying to get back to sleep. These early morning prayer wake up calls seem to happen more during times of spiritual introspection like the Holy Week leading up to Good Friday and Easter/Resurrection Sunday. For example, during Lent, traditionally a time of a deepening spiritual intimacy and connection with God, the emphasis on personal sacrifice has made me see prayer less as a 10 minute “now I lay me down to sleep” ritual and more of a natural extension of who I am as a Christian. For me, in particular, prayer has become a more frequent part of my morning routine. Since I normally pray before I go to bed at the end of the day, waking up with prayer is a big change.
Even though I’m praying more frequently (in the morning and at night), I notice one thing about those prayers. Sometimes, I’m not necessarily praying what I consider new prayers. I find myself repeating prayers about previously prayed about issues which goes against what I was taught years ago about prayer.
The idea was that God hears the prayer the first time and to pray it again means that we didn’t mean it the first time. Right or wrong, I eventually got in the habit of praying “thank you for the manifestation” but not the original prayer. Now though, I’m starting to see that God urging me to repeat the prayer isn’t necessarily a sign that I prayed it “wrong” like James 4:3:” And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.”
At first, I thought God was waking me up early so I could correct some “wrong” prayers. However, over time, I see that time as peacefully refreshing time of fellowship with God. The repetition of prayer isn’t necessarily a sign that the prayer wasn’t prayed right the first time. Repeating the prayer could also be a reminder of the promise that God will answer the prayer and a sign that God wants to keep open the lines of communication.
Shewanda Riley is a Dallas, Texas based author of “Love Hangover: Moving from Pain to Purpose After a Relationship Ends” and “Writing to the Beat of God’s Heart: A Book of Prayers for Writers.” Email her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @shewanda.