The Divine Hours

We have very close friends who just last week gave birth to a precious baby boy. We were devastated to learn that he is now in the hospital in critical condition awaiting surgery to repair his tiny heart. I physically ache for them as I imagine their anguish and fear.

The night after I received the news about Baby Matthew, I was woken repeatedly in the night by my own infant son. Because the kids were sharing a room, and because Mercy is MUCH harder to deal with than Aaron if she gets woken up in the middle of the night, I took Aaron out of their room each time and held him in the rocking chair in the living room until he fell back asleep.

As I sat, three times, in the rocker that night, I prayed for healing for Baby Matthew and for comfort and courage for his parents. Ususally if Aaron keeps me up like that, I am tired and grumpy when I get up. But this time I awoke feeling a sense of peace. It was almost as if those three risings were not interruptions in what should have been a night of restful sleep but rather a summons to pray for some people I dearly love.

There are those who practice a life-rhythm of daily prayers called “fixed-hour prayers” or “divine offices” where every few hours one is summoned to pray. This practice has its origins in Judaism, and continues today among believers throughout the world. While my call came not from the clock per se, Aaron led me that night in a pattern of prayer that felt powerful and transformative. There was something about the frequency of the summons, the consistency of the setting, and the urgency of the need that brought my spirit into deep communion with my heavenly Father.

In Los Angeles, I meet bi-weekly with a dear friend for prayer and confession. One of the things we speak often of is our mutual need to become more deeply immersed in a life of prayer. As the mother of two young ones, I have confessed to her that I have found it incredibly difficult to “practice” my spirituality now, at least in the ways and forms I have held to in the past. While I do not wish to rise three times each night (Doug and I rejoiced this morning that Aaron is back to mostly sleeping through the night again after being so sick on this trip), I do wonder what things in my daily life could become regular summons to pray. There was also something about the repetition and regularity of my prayers that night that makes me consider too how the rhythms of the clock could be used in helping me as well. I know that we do not become people of prayer by accident.

This morning I received good news about Baby Matthew’s condition. God is good.


  1. Thanks, Erika.

    I remember staying up at night with my twins when they were born. My wife Linda would feed them at 11PM, and I’d stay up with them until 3AM for their next feeding, then Linda would get up at 5AM for the next one.

    It was draining, yet I grew spiritually through it. I’ll never forget holding those two 5 lb. infants and thanking God for them…
    …and committing my life to theirs for Him.

  2. Twins…wow. Honestly, I cannot imagine. My husband is a twin and his mom and dad tell some great stories about what it was like. We had a similar schedule as yours with our first baby–but there was only one! I remind myself often that these days are so short and that they will be gone before we know it–and missed once they are gone. It is hard, though, to have that perspective in those sleep-deprived moments.

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