The Dancing Puritan

Monday, June 17, 2013

Bedtime Prayers

One of the loveliest sights to me each evening is my daughter Lydia, beside her bed and on her knees praying.

Now one of the things that I know about Lydia is that she does not only pray at bedtime. She reads her bible and prays each morning as well. Prayer is essential to her.

Prayer is important. Even Jesus, when he walked on this earth, was faithful to pray. In his humanity--in some way--he needed communion with the Father that came via prayer. He also modeled prayer and he taught his disciples how to pray. Sometimes Jesus would pray all night. So important was prayer to him that he would leave needy people behind in order to pray. Prayer was more important than healing and other ministries (Mark 1:29-39).

It is easy to view prayer as less of a priority than other responsibilities. Perhaps we imagine that we can pray-as-we-go and that will be sufficient. Surely we must pray all the time. Yet there should be regular times of withdrawing to your room to pray in private.

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret...(Matthew 6:6).

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed (Mark 1:35).

Making prayer a priority--even over helping people, will sometimes draw criticism from others.

And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, 'Everyone is looking for you' (Mark 1:36-37).

People needed the help of Jesus. He was praying and was not unnerved when Simon and the rest approached him seemingly in a bit of a panic.

Jesus was never anxious.  He never seemed rushed or forced into action due to a perceived emergency.

Jesus would not allow the emergencies of people to rob him of his time alone with the Father. He trusted the sovereignty of the Father and therefore he never allowed the pressures of life to press out his fellowship with God.

Is prayer a priority in your life?  Or is it something that you tack on to the end of a busy day?

C.S. Lewis in, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, wrote:

And, talking of sleepiness, I entirely agree with you that no one in his senses, if he has any power of ordering his own day, would reserve his chief prayers for bed-time--obviously the worst possible hour for any action which needs concentration. The trouble is that thousands of unfortunate people can hardly find any other. Even for us, who are the lucky ones, it is not always easy. My own plan, when hard pressed, is to seize any time, and place, however unsuitable, in preference to the last waking moment. On a day of travelling--with, perhaps, some ghastly meeting at the end of it--I'd rather pray sitting in a crowded train than put it off till midnight when one reaches a hotel bedroom with aching head and dry throat and one's mind partly in a stupor and partly in a whirl. On other, and slightly less crowded, days a bench in a park, or a back street where one can pace up and down, will do.

Pray at bedtime. Pray all of the time. Yet find times when you can especially concentrate on your "chief prayers." Prayer is not a nice additive to a busy life.  Prayer is like breathing.  In reading the Bible we hear from God. In prayer we meditate on God and bring our praises, thanksgivings and requests to our Father who delights to hear and to grant good gifts to his children.