WE HAVE a policy at home. Well, less a policy and more of an
agreement - although perhaps it is neither of those: what we have
is a game of spiritual oneupmanship. The game is called "I'll take
the children tomorrow morning: it's your turn for a quiet
Sounds healthy? Absolutely. Until you add the line: "So, if
you're still in bed at 7 a.m., while I'm staffing the CBeebies
morning slot, then you can square that with your conscience. And
with the Lord."
I have always wanted to engage with morning prayer: to wake up
in the early hours and intercede for the day without falling,
disciple-like, asleep while waiting for the Lord. Since discovering
this prayer, I may be one step nearer: this is a prayer that wakes
First, it is short. Here are five syllables that do not require
the workings of an intellectual colossus. In fact - do try this -
if the words are moved into any intelligible sentence, then, even
if the exact order eludes you, the gist is difficult to lose.
The brevity of Isaiah's words is, however, not the reason that
this prayer functions like a liturgical alarm clock. The power, as
ever, is in the width, the height, and the depth to which these
words go. Despite appearances, this is not an easy prayer to
"Here I am, send me." With these words, we voice our expectancy
of an active God. Ours is a Father who is dynamic in the world, and
who dares us to believe that we are of use to him. As we pray, we
commit to a readiness to go.
"Here I am, send me." In offering to go, we must recognise the
courage that it takes to pray this prayer. These words are not an
agreement to include God in our plans for the day. Rather, they are
a recognition that we have no plans unless they are made through
God. With this prayer, we ask God to send us into the unknown:
perhaps unknown elements of a seemingly ordinary day, or sometimes
- just sometimes - something very different.
"Here I am, send me." Praying with expectancy and courage, we
must also recognise that this prayer is one of submission. Through
it, we lay ourselves down before the God of the universe.
I heard Bobbie Cheema QC interviewed recently at an Alpha
Leadership Conference. She is Senior Treasury Counsel, working on
high-level cases of homicide and terrorism. Whenever possible, her
day begins in court, praying this prayer: submitting herself, her
skills, and her discernment to God.
As we pray these five words, our day becomes the Lord's. What
would it be like if, each day, we stood in the place where we "do
life", and asked that God would send us in with his blessing? What
if our desire for the day were to be commissioned again for God's
We all know what it says in Matthew 7.7 about people who ask: it
would be transformational.
Katy Holbird is a television producer, who blogs at