I am a natural-born planner. My mind is always thinking ahead to the next project or item on my endless to-do list. Surely I can plan quiet time with God just as easily as I plan an evening out with my husband…right? But my mind is rarely still, and it’s even less quiet. So many thoughts swirl around, all day, every day. Many who know me would say that God often has to be the one to find quiet time with me!

There is, however, a time when I find myself with God. It’s early, very early. As in 3 a.m. early. Often it’s because one of our pets has roused me from my sleep with a mew or a woof or my body reminded me that I drank too much water before going to bed. Sometimes it’s both.

Occasionally I can slip right back into whatever dream I’ve been having. Many times, however, my mind jolts into a train wreck of thoughts and emotions. Going back to sleep immediately, if at all, is just a dream.

During this time, it’s easy to let my mind wander endlessly over my shortcomings, missed opportunities, and never-finished to-do list. But before I travel too far down that well-worn path, I mentally shift my thoughts into prayer with God. I focus on taking slow, deep breaths while I converse with my maker about joys, concerns, and petitions for myself and others. Sometimes it’s a gentle, meditative prayer; other times it’s a deep cry for God’s felt presence in my life. Right then, right there.

While praying, something special usually happens. The next thing I know, it’s morning! “Oh my,” I think, “I’ve hung up on God again. I didn’t even get to close my prayer with an ‘Amen.’ ”

But maybe this disconnecting was God’s reply to my prayer. “Sleep, my child,” God whispered. “I will be with you as you work through your plans and tasks later today.” In those few remaining hours, before the busyness of the coming day, God gently covers me with blankets of love, peace, and rest.