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The Hours Before Dawn: Morning Devotions, Part 7

by | May 9, 2023 | Morning Devotions, Time

“Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, ‘Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Now the LORD came and stood there, calling as before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’” (1 Samuel 3:8 ESV)

I’m not a great sleeper, never was, never will be… but unlike most light sleepers, I actually enjoy the 2 am moments when I am awake and still and receptive. I don’t panic like many – wondering if I’ll get enough sleep to survive the rigors of the morning schedule. Time and again it feels like the sacred space created by God and foretold by the Psalmist, “Be still and know that I am God”.

Actually, I spend a lot of the night in that semi-awake state where I know I am not asleep but my mind wanders to many weird and wonderful places… I will often schedule my day and week at such times.  More importantly, I often hear voices in the night. They are the voices that have formed and shaped me from the beginning of my faith journey – scripture and song and story which have simply become part of my being. Can I possibly tell you of the many voices I’ve heard in the night- voices like Martin Luther King Jr. whose national commemoration is tomorrow in the US, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Henry Nouwen … the list seems endless.

So many of my best ideas and intuitions come to me in the dark of night… as they did to a young boy called Samuel. The next restless night you experience just might be filled with moments of awe and wonder as you seek out the source of the voice calling your name.

“Here I am, Lord
Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night
I will go, Lord
If you lead me
I will hold your people in my heart.”   (592 Presbyterian Book of Praise)

Prayer: We give you thanks, Holy God, for the saints who have borne witness to your Word throughout the ages. We give special thanks for your servant Martin Luther King, Jr., who responded to your voice to serve and gave his life for the cause of love and justice. May we too respond with the depth of commitment that will enable us to give of ourselves in full measure, even to the point of death. May the Holy Spirit guide and direct us, we pray, that we too might feel the call to serve your people. May we not tire of doing good in the face of wrong and evil. May we continue to work for a world marked by justice, love, and fellowship as only you can create. Inspire our hearts, strengthen our wills, build up our resolve that we too might become worthy of the heritage that has been given to us in the witness of Martin Luther King. God, help us to hear your voice calling. (adapted from the United Methodist Church

Kenn Stright
(To access the entire “Morning Devotions” mini-series, click here.)

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