I started a new morning routine. It goes like this: Wake up, pee, pray (something simple like, “Lord, have mercy”), listen to Grace, and surrender to whatever Grace tells me. I call this my “Grace routine.” It’s adapted from the book The Pastor, A Crisis by Bradly Jersak and Paul Young. There was something about the simplicity of this routine that resonated with me.
For myself, I need simplicity, and this routine captures simplicity. The first two steps are non-negotiables, as I do them without thinking. It’s the last two steps that I have spent years overcomplicating. But I like the austerity of prayer for mercy. I can pray for myself, my next-door neighbor, Russia, and Ukraine. It’s a powerhouse, all-purpose prayer I can pray from the bottom of my heart.
After I pray for mercy, I wait and listen for the voice of Grace, aka Jesus. For those of you who don’t think you hear from Him, think again. In John 10, Jesus promised that we would know Him and hear His voice. We might not recognize it as His voice, but we hear Him. We just need to be still and listen.
This morning I woke up, peed, went outside, prayed, “Lord, have mercy,” and began listening for the voice of Grace. What I heard next was a cacophony of happy creatures. Birds, so many different birds, squirrels, insects, dogs, and even the trees joined in as the wind blew. Not one of these creatures was stressed or striving, and it sounded like they were raising their voices in unison to praise their Creator in pure joy.
I couldn’t help but think of that story Grace told about how Heavenly Father dresses the lilies of the field in such splendor and how He knows when the tiniest sparrow falls to the ground. Suddenly, the complexity of nature struck me. How the sun shines down on lilies, which release oxygen for the birds that carry seeds to create more trees and flowers to give food and fresh air. When I listen, Grace tells me how this entire ecosystem is so balanced, so intricate. He did that to care for all His beloved creations, of which we, mankind, are the pinnacle. Then Grace told me, “Be still, and know that I am Love.”
The final step of my new routine is to surrender to what Grace tells me. This morning, I felt He told me to surrender my life and will to the care of Love, just like the rest of His creation has. Okie Dokie. You win, Love; I surrender. P.S. I love you, too!
Does all that sound a little ethereal and hippie-dippie? It’s adapted straight from what I wrote in my prayer journal this morning. I decided long ago that I was not out to impress any of you. But if I can help someone “Be still and know” that He is Love, and if I can help someone know Him as Love, it’s all worth it.
In closing, I want to share something Jesus said that depicts what I’ve been talking about: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Learn the unforced rhythms of Grace (Matt 11:28-29 MSG).”