I hope you are loving this morning prayer series as much as I am. This next post and story by my friend Cathy all about morning by morning Scripture was just what I needed to hear.
I longed for more rest, hoping it might clear my mind and strengthen my heart. Instead, my feet hit the floor, running headlong into another relentlessly exhausting day. There was no time to reflect in morning by morning Scripture or turn to my Source of strength.
God knows what I need, I reasoned. He is with me. And I continued to run.
My mom entered in-home hospice 2 months prior and alongside weekly visits from nursing professionals, I was her primary, live-in caregiver. Juggling business and ministry, I prepared her meals, repositioned her in bed, changed incontinence briefs, administered medications, and did my best to keep her calm.
I also sensed the burden of introducing her to Christ. She’d rejected Him for years, but I hoped now, as she approached the end of life, she might accept His invitation to lead her home. Beloved country music artists now inhabited a newly created playlist, sharing songs she’d rarely heard in her life—gospel hymns. The first night her room filled with choruses of God’s truth, she slept soundly for the first time in months. Maybe God’s Word was getting through to her heart.
But it wasn’t getting into me. I’d let my spiritual disciplines suffer through this season. My spirit felt dry. Dusty. My body and mind were showing evidence of self-neglect.
In desperation, I cried out to God. “I need you, Father. Will you watch over her? Keep her comfortable and still, so I can nourish my spirit with Your Word.” In His unending faithfulness, He met me in His Word. Psalm 46:5 (HCSB) leaped off the page:
“God is within her; she will not be toppled. God will help her when the morning dawns.”
Encouraged by the promise that I would not be toppled by my circumstance, I also felt His conviction. I’d abandoned my habit of seeking Him morning by morning.
Morning by Morning Scripture and Prayer
How could I, amid this season of emotion, stress, and countless distractions, redevelop a routine of morning prayer? Not a pray-on-the-run-type of communion with God, but dedicated time where I could sit at His feet, let the wars within me cease, and find stillness in His presence.
I knew how essential it was to my own well-being and sanity. My days were difficult. My nights were restless. But the Holy Spirit reminded me that joy comes in the morning where God’s mercies are always new. Several Scriptures coursed through my mind:
“But I call to You for help, LORD; in the morning my prayer meets You” (Ps 88:13, HCSB).
“Let me experience Your faithful love in the morning, for I trust in You. Reveal to me the way I should go because I long for You” (Ps 143:8, HCSB).
“I rise before dawn and cry for help; I put my hope in your word” (Ps 119:147, HCSB).
I sensed an urgency to begin but had no idea it would feel so impossible. The next morning, I woke early to pray but my heart wouldn’t engage. Distractions were rampant and 20 minutes passed before I realized I was sitting in stillness, without seeking God.
The following morning, I sat again in silence but my mind was far from God. Clearly this was not something I could accomplish by willpower and careful planning. I needed a heart reboot, which would require action, deliberate intention, and utter reliance on God. He mercifully guided me through each step.
Step 1: A Few Simple Words
The journey started then and there with a few simple words. “Lord, give me a desire to pray. Show me why I feel so blocked.”
Only a few times has God has communicated to me through dreams, and that night I dreamt I had a horrible argument with Him. I was behaving like a willful, obstinate teenager set on having her own way. I shouted at Him in my dream, “Lord, why would I pray to you? You aren’t listening! I ask and you don’t respond, or you bring the opposite of what I’ve asked.”
As my tear-filled eyes opened, I discerned this was a bit more than a dream. My mom’s health was failing, although I’d repeatedly prayed for healing; her salvation seemed impossible, yet I’d prayed for years that He’d draw her to Himself. It went beyond that, and I recalled a myriad of recent disappointments. God’s revelation of my own hardening heart troubled me to the core.
Step 2: Gratitude
The next step of my journey involved cardstock taped to the walls of the hallway that led to my mom’s bedroom. I kept a magic marker close by and as I walked that hallway countless times each day, I stopped to jot down blessings as they came to mind. Considering all I’d written helped renew my hope and peace, putting my eyes on God rather than my trial and disappointments.
Step 3: Partnership
When prayer still wouldn’t flow freely as it had in years past, I shared my struggle with my husband. He took my hands and led me in prayer, asking God to restore my faith and my desire to pray. Just the act of praying alongside a trusted partner helped hold my focus and move toward victory.
Step 4: Routine
At last, I could feel darkness lifting and the strength to embrace hope. God stood ready to help me out of this pit. I began to change my routine to prepare my heart for morning prayer. Tasks that were typically reserved for morning were easily accomplished before bed, like showering, preparing coffee, and setting out my Bible, journal, pens, and pre-selected worship music. With everything prepared when I woke, I was in a much better frame of mind to meet with God.
Renewed by Morning by Morning Scripture and Prayer
With God’s great help, a morning by morning Scripture and prayer routine is becoming re-established and my days already feel more peaceful. Once again, I can sense the warmth of His love which helps me serve my mom with more heartfelt affection. I feel refreshed as my spirit is nourished, and each step feels divinely ordered. Joy is slowly resurfacing, even amid ongoing trials.
Our desire as children of God is to live fully devoted to Him. Tragically, when we slip out of our disciplines, we don’t realize how far—and how quickly—we drift away from His heavenly pattern.
Most of us experience periods when prayer feels like a chore. We lose sight of its power and the blessings that are ours to enjoy. We need to find a way to return to His ways and walk within the cadenced step of the Holy Spirit.
Morning by morning, when we turn to Him, the Lord restores our focus. He orders our steps and helps us walk in his limitless love. Let’s not forsake His gifts. Instead, let’s follow hard after His ways.
If you, too, are craving renewal and nourishment for your spirit, perhaps you need encouragement to step up—or step into—your morning by morning Scripture and prayer routine. I welcome you to join me through an inspiring (and free) 21-day prayer challenge. Click here to discover the exciting details. I’m honored to walk alongside you as you seek daily communion with God.
Cathy McIntosh is an editor and contributor for The Joyful Life Magazine with a heart of compassion for women who struggle with discontent and feel stuck in the mundane. She has (mostly) learned to navigate such feelings and serves as a mentor and coach to help others grab hold of God’s unshakeable joy. As an author, blogger, speaker, and Bible teacher, Cathy equips women to nourish their spirit and pursue their calling.
Cathy and her husband of more than 30 years are parents of two and grandparents of two. They cherish every minute spent with family and enjoy easy hikes in the Colorado mountains near their home. Come connect on Cathy’s blog cathymcintosh.com.