Have you ever noticed how much Jesus prays? It’s a lot. He prayed in public, when he was alone, before meals, before healing, after healing, to do his Father’s will and before important decisions, just to name a few. He also taught on the importance of prayer.
Prayer is something that is discussed throughout the Bible. In his first letter to the Thessolonians, the Apostle Paul wrote in 5:17, to “pray without ceasing.” Prayer is important for us to practice because it keeps us connected with God. Many people think prayer has to consist of lofty words and phrases or that it has to last for a long period of time and this is not the case. Prayer is nothing more than having a conversation with God, much like the conversations you have with friends.
Developing your prayer life is something that takes time, effort and energy but after doing it for a few weeks, you’d be surprised how easy it is to maintain. My daily prayer routine begins right after I wake up. As I’m feeding the dog and the cat, I listen to the daily prayer from the Pray As You Go App, I go through my list of intercessions and then I recite Luther’s Morning Blessing from the Small Catechism –
“In the morning, as soon as you get out of bed, you are to make the sign of the holy cross and say: God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit watch over me. Amen.”
Then, kneeling or standing, say the Apostles’ Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. If you wish, you may in addition recite this little prayer as well: “I give thanks to you, my heavenly Father through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected me this night from all harm and danger, and I ask you that you would also protect me today from sin and all evil, so that my life and actions may please you completely. For into your hands I commend myself: my body, my soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel be with me, so that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen.”
In the evening as I am preparing to go to bed, I use part of Luther’s Evening Blessing from the Small Catechism –
“I give thanks to you, my heavenly Father through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have graciously protected me today, and I ask you to forgive me all my sins, where I have done wrong, and graciously to protect me tonight For into your hands I commend myself: my body, my soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel be with me, so that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen.”
But in his weekly email, Bishop Daniel reminded me about a prayer that can be found in our hymnal. It is included in the service of Evening Prayer (Vespers) and can be found on page 317. As we are about to return to worship in our sanctuary and we are still in a state of unknowing what will happen with the coronavirus, I think this is a fitting prayer for all of us to pray and I’d like to invite y’all to begin praying it with me every evening. It goes like this –
O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.