Waking Hours: Persevering In Prayer
By Kristin Stockfisch
Five am just got darker. It used to be that 5 am meant the light of the sunrise was an hour away. But this week, daylight savings meant nighttime extended into the wee hours of the morning. Austin wakes and works when the market opens in New York. So, living in California means he’s in front of his computer, coffee at arm’s length at 5:30 am. With two girls under the age of three, the early, dark morning hours are sacred around our house. I fight the good fight to slink out of bed, shuffle to the kitchen, toast my toast and sip my tea. The darkness used to call me back to bed. But now, darkness outside means extended sleep for the littles and lingering time with my Creator at the head of our kitchen table.
I sit. I write. I take a bite. I pray. I read. I take a sip.
Time and quiet. Two words that used to shout Christian duty now are too delicious to devour. They are like endangered species in my life: worth protecting and pursuing.
I live for quiet time these days. I wake up for it. But quiet time isn’t sexy. It is too holy to have a caption. Too tangible to photograph well.
College turned me into a prayer-person. Desperation does this. A pattern of physical brokenness seeped into my soul and exposed all the fractured, taped-up hurts of a life leaned on the shoulders of my own self-sufficiency. My prayer life morphed from a before-meals, before-bed check-in to a daily open-heart surgery. God received my honest thoughts and raw feelings for the first time and He and I were never the same. Prayer made sense of this relationship with God everyone seemed to talk about. He became a person. Father. Son. Spirit. A person unlike anyone I had ever known.
But, if I’m honest, life with God is brutal sometimes. Often I come to the table out of breath from pressure and pain instead of awed and breathless from his goodness. I come battered, bruised and barely awake. But I come. I must come. I come no matter how lost or lonely. I come no matter the case or circumstance. I come to pause and I come to pray.
Prayer is hard. It’s the gritty, unseen, foundation work of a faith life. It stands on the legs of stillness and waiting and no two words could be further from the prizes of our culture. That’s why prayer can feel so awkward and counterproductive. The rest of the day I am hailed for my motion and speed.
Prayer is hard. And hard is somewhat of a curse word these days. If something is hard, it must mean I am doing something wrong. If something is hard, I must quit to find the easier way. If something is hard it’s time to turn up the noise or the numbing.
Prayer is hard. It just is you guys. But it needs to be. There is too much humbling, heart-changing spiritual advancement done in this space to be easy. We are made holy in times of prayer with God. We are made right. We are made ready. Maybe the question needs to change from: what do I gain if I pray? To: what is this world losing because I’m not praying?
We must be persistent in prayer. We must. Not because God needs us to but because we need us to. Our men need us to. Our kids need us to. Our friends need us to. Our world needs us to. Prayer ensures our hearts are in-line with God. Prayer surrenders to his timing. Prayer submits to his ways even when our flesh is fighting them big-time.
Perhaps best of all, prayer gives us glimpses into the glory of God. We go to God in prayer looking for answers and insight and he often leaves us with a revelation of Himself. Somehow that’s enough. Every single time. God in his fullness satisfies our deepest hunger. Prayer is how we feast in his goodness.
So now, you. Maybe you’re in college and figuring it out. Maybe you’re in a season of ‘in-between.’ Maybe you’re haunted by too many options. Maybe you’re operating in your sweet spot. Maybe your life is more about the people you’re raising than your own life right now. Wherever you are, I hope you are praying. Nothing will dictate where you and God are going more.
It may not look like 5 am. It may not look like toast and tea at the kitchen table. But I pray you find your rhythm. I pray you are raw and honest. I pray you pray. And pray some more. These moments may not photograph well. They may not get likes on your Instagram feed. But your steadfastness in doing this despite difficulty or delay will ensure a full life with God. Not a perfect one. Not an easy one. But one of a glorious fullness we have not yet known.
Kristin Stockfisch loves being a wife and mom to two little girls. She spends time with college girls to stay young and works out to 90’s pop to feel old. After taking a year away from social media, Kristin noticed the void in depth and connection around her. So every Monday and Friday she sends out a question to restore the art of conversation right where we are. She is her best self while writing or speaking about the things of God, breathing in ocean air, or gazing in awe at her family. Kristin lives in Santa Barbara, CA.
Website: www.kristinstockfisch.com // Instagram: @KristinStockfisch