Thursday, February 08, 2007

"Prayer Is Better than Sleep"

I was reminded this morning of this truth, preserved by Muslims in the morning call to prayer from every mosque, when my friend Bill called me early this morning with good news about himself and things to pray for.

As I considered further, I considered that sleep is essential, and prayer won't substitute for it. Psalm 127 reminds us, "It is vain for you to rise up early, to delay sitting, to eat the bread of toils; for He gives to His beloved sleep."

That's true of lots of things. Jesus says, "Do not labor for the bread that perishes but for that which leads to eternal life," but he says again that "your Father knows that you need these things." "It is better to give than to receive," but giving is only possible when we master receiving (as opposed to earning, stealing, or extorting), so that Jesus said again, "Freely you have received, therefore freely give."

So we can't say "nothing but the best," whether in things, experiences, or even people - just receive from God whatever seems good to Him, without trying to use anything to avoid needing God. He didn't make anything to serve that purpose, and it will turn to our harm if we try.

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