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I’ve started doing something each night that I haven’t done since I was a young girl — kneeling beside my bed to pray before climbing under the covers.
I have a dedicated space in my closet for prayer. There is a room in my house specifically designed for prayer, meditation and creativity. I often find myself in that room, on my face in conversation with God.
Yet, kneeling by my bed feels different. It’s an opportunity to take off the armor that is required for me to get through days and decades of disappointment, heartache and fear. I’ve washed the war paint from my face. All the markers of civility are gone.
I know how to come to God as a prayer warrior. I know how to pray in powerful ways that break strongholds and set captives free. I know how to shift the atmosphere through prayer, to come before His throne as a mighty mouthpiece for God’s kingdom. But bedside prayer is different.
By my bed I can be small. I can be scared of what awaits me in a prophetic dream once I am asleep or what I have to face the next day. I can feel my scars and tend to my wounds. I allow myself to feel the pain brought on by people or society. I acknowledge my failures and shortcomings. I ask for forgiveness and another chance to get things right.
I exhale at the altar and lay my burdens down.
It is a gentle, beautiful time with God. It reminds me of nights as a young child when I would crawl into my parents’ laps, and they would hold me while they read me a bedtime story. God is holding me.
I can let today go. I can leave it with God, and trust Him to turn all the turmoil around for my good.
For women like me, who are often described as a force, strong, fierce and powerful, it is necessary to make room for this moment in our day. We need to take time to acknowledge our fragility, our softness and our sensitivity. It’s a part of us that we are often not encouraged to cultivate. We are so busy taking care of others and trying to save the world that by the time we get to us, it’s sometimes too late.
This time kneeling by my bed in soft, repentant, thankful prayer is an essential part of my spiritual health and wholeness. It is a place I crawl into and am held by God.
It is a prayer of rest and restoration. It is a selflessly selfish prayer that relieves my body from hauling the heavy armor of Christ. It recharges me so I can spend my days in bold, effectual prayer and work that is a testament to my Father’s business.
It is the cornerstone of my prayer practice. Since I’ve resumed my bedside prayer, I sleep more soundly, love more deeply and discern more quickly. My prayers are shaking up things that seemed solidly in place.
I can rest easy. God’s got it.
LaMonique Hamilton is a Wilson resident and former Times reporter and copy editor. She is the national deputy director of communications for Repairers of the Breach and the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and blogs about arts and culture at iamlamonique.com.