The old Scofield edition King James Bible was tattered and hard worn with the use of many years. This was my father’s Bible. Like my dear ol’ departed dad, the Book had served well its generation. I picked it up off his now empty desktop. I thumbed through its wrinkled pages with care. I had been clearing out his desk and office shortly after his passing.
Something fell from its pages. I reached to the floor to pick up a small, faded red scripture card. Immediately I recognized it as once belonging to our family Promise Box. This was a collection of various small, colored cards with Bible verses and declarations nestled in a heart-shaped olive wood box. For decades that box had sat beside the glass salt and pepper shakers on our kitchen table—a chrome and red Formica dinette where breakfast was served.
Every morning Mom and Dad urged us kids to draw out a Bible promise from that box before heading off to school.
I held in my hand a small piece of my childhood, maybe fifty years old. In small print the card read:
In the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee and will look up. Psalm 5:3
I still have that card and that tired old Bible. It lies cradled in a hand-tooled leather jacket, a handmade gift from some prison inmate whom my father must have visited in his jail ministry. The little card could have served as my father’s business calling card—if he ever had one to give. Dad was an early riser as a praying man of God. That is no doubt what enabled him to survive, and even gain a seminary education during the Great Depression. Later his generation would become known as the Greatest Generation. After all, they would fight and win World War II against some of the most perverse forces in our planet’s history. Obviously prayer was more popular—and legal—back then. It brought a whole generation through to victory at sea and on land.
The heroic leaders of the Bible all faced adverse opposition. They have left us clear evidence of their strong prayer life. Most, like Abraham and David, were marked by the habit of rising up early to earnestly seek God.
Study the prayer life of Jesus and you can connect the dots, so to speak. There is a direct connection to His marvelous miracles and amazing leadings to His well recorded prayer time. Mark gives us a glimpse of Jesus at prayer: “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place, and there He prayed.” (Mark 1:36)
One time Jesus left his Galilean residence in Capernaum with an accompanying entourage of disciples. (Luke 7:11) He knew exactly when to depart and what should be His estimated time of arrival, walking the 15 miles to Nain’s city limits. As His group entered the gate of Nain, they came face to face with a mourning widow and the funeral procession bearing the dead body of her only son. Jesus halted the cortege which was proceeding to the town cemetery. He approached the open coffin and touched the dead lad. He said,
“Young man, I say to you ‘Arise’!”
Then, as Luke records: “he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother.”
How did the Lord know how to time such a supreme, decisive, and miraculous display of His resurrection power? The answer is prayer. It was through prayer that Jesus received daily directions from His Father.
No wonder His disciples came to recognize the very important connection of prayer. They begged Him: “Lord, teach us to pray!” It is also no wonder that the most obvious qualifying mark of the godly disciple is prayer. Lord, teach us to pray! Mark us with the mark of communion with the Father.
“In the morning will I direct my prayer unto You and will look up.” Psalm 5:3
“O God, You are my God; early will I seek You.” Psalm 63:1
“He awakens me morning by morning, He awakens my ear to hear as the learned.” Isaiah 50:4
“I will give him the morning star.” Revelation 2:28
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