Monday, July 16, 2012

Low Tide, High Tide: Reflections on Morning and Evening Prayer

Low tide. Go ahead and sleep.
High tide. Take a walk with me.

I lay with you in the evening
I walk with you in the morning
I offer you all that I have on this earth
And take all that you have given

then I watch the darkest day fill up with angels

And He saw that it was good
Morning and evening, another day

The above lyrics were written by me out of inspiration from reading Eugene Peterson's chapter "Rhythm" from his book Answering God. By using quotes from the chapter, and my own thoughts, I will explain what it means and will describe the message you are meant to receive from it.
The song is about morning and evening prayer.
This evening, I will pray as the Psalmist of Psalm 139: 
"Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my thoughts.
See if there is any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting."
I will pray that God will find all that is in me and will 
"Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin. . . .
You desire truth in the inward being;
Therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. . . .
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me. . . .
and sustain me with a willing spirit"
(1)
I will pray that he takes all of me and molds me into something good. That he works within me to make me pure. That "everything that can be shaken will be shaken!"(2)
Sacrifice yourself to God. Lose your life to him so that you may find it when you wake.
"A sacrifice is an offering placed before the Lord so that he can make something of it. Once offered it is in God's hand to do with what he will. . . . You have had all day, now let God have all night. . . . Low tide. Sleep now."(3)
I will end my prayer with an acknowledgement of God's presence and will lay down with him to sleep. As I sleep, he will prepare for me my daily bread.
"The word of God begins while we are asleep and without our help. He continues to work through the day in our worship and obedience."(4)
In the morning, I will say 'Yes' to God. I will receive my daily bread and will dedicate my day to him. 
"O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
In the morning I plead my case to you, and watch. . . .
I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house,
I will bow down toward your holy temple in awe of you.
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies;
make your way straight before me."
(5)
Yes, God was preparing me for his work while I was asleep, but I will have to make the decision to live in that work throughout the day, as Peterson says, with worship and obedience. I must choose to walk with God.
"Morning prayer places us before the watchful God and readies us to enter the day watchful, watching our dangerous past recede, and watching the dangerous day fill with God's angels. High tide."(6)
As I walk with God, I can watch the darkest day fill up with his angels.

"For Christians the beginning of the day should not be burdened and oppressed with besetting concerns for the day's work. At the threshold of the new day stands the Lord who made it. All the darkness and distraction of the dreams of night retreat before the clear light of Jesus Christ and his wakening Word. All unrest. all impurity, all care and anxiety flee before him. Therefore, at the beginning of the day let all distraction and empty talk be silenced and let the first thought and the first word belong to him to whome our life belongs."
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer (7)

"Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." - Ephesians 5:14

Let God have the first word and the last word of your days.
Morning and evening prayer allow God to do with our days what he did in the creation narrative.
This universe is a masterpiece. This world is a masterpiece. We are masterpieces (Eph. 2:10).
Each and every day can be a new masterpiece if we yield to the blowing of God's Wind. 
I want all my days to end with "and He saw that it was good"! 

Notes: 
(1) Ps. 51:2, 6-7, 10, 12b.
(2) A lyric from the song "Justice Waiting" by Jason Upton.
(3) Eugene Peterson, Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer (New YorkL HarperCollins, 1989), 64.
(4) Ibid., 66.
(5) Ps. 5:3, 7-8.
(6) Peterson, 67. 
(7) Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together (New York: HarperOne, 1954), 43

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