Each morning, Al and I do devotions to get a right start on things for the day. In addition to this, each night we say our prayers before sleep to help remove the worlds assaults to our psyche which sometimes dims our inner spiritual light. We want to feel cleansed, safe and protected through the night, and our prayers offer us that blessed assurance.
The following has always been a favorite verse for me because it creates a wonderful visual as I recite it. I learned it many years ago in our church and I am grateful for having it taught to me!
Psalm 51: v 10-12 Create in me a clean heart oh God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. These verses give me great comfort, especially during times when I feel overwhelmed or anxious. I often include this prayer in my evening prayers.
I also love the prayer we were taught as very young children and have prayed this my entire life.
“Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
If I should live another day,
I pray the Lord to guide my way.
I love you Jesus!
This simple child’s prayer covers it all and as a child I can remember always feeling relief to say the third part which meant I would likely get another day. Children are literal and I am as literal as they come. Lol!
Our morning devotional followed by prayer for others is how we refresh our spirit. It is similar to us taking vitamins each morning to give added strength and resilience to our body, only in this case the devotions and prayer adds strength and resilience to our spirit as we seek to put on the whole armor (or spiritual vitamins) of God!
Our day begins with the advantage of a clean heart and a renewed spirit from praying the night before, but we know that by the time we end our day, it will be time for another cleansing.
The morning devotions and prayer serve the purpose of making us ready to face a new day with new challenges, and, as the good Lord knows, we need all the help we can get in the day and age of a pandemic and warring political factions!
This prayer book in the picture was my Mother’s. When she died, I chose to not take much in the way of her material possessions because I knew she had no great attachment to them (which is why she did not own a lot of excess). Her small apartment in her widowhood was full of things on the walls and surfaces, but these were mostly gifts given to her from family members who were constantly showering her with material expressions of love. She always displayed our gifts so when we came to visit we would see them and feel good about her enjoying our gifts.
At the time of her death, her prayer book spoke to me, along with some other personal writings she had left behind. This prayer book journal was full of blank pages waiting for names to be entered of someone we should pray for. Since her death, Al and I have used her prayer book to write in the names of those friends and acquaintances who are dealing with problems and are in need of prayers. We have always prayed for people, but this time we actually began to log peoples names in this book and as prayers were answered, (one way or another) we drew a line through the name.
The prayer book benefited us every bit as much as the people who are entered in the book because as time has gone by, we began to understand that everyone on earth has their challenges. Some have ENORMOUS challenges, and some have MANY challenges, but we all have them in one form or another, be them big, small, or many.
We began to notice people who helped us build OUR faith as we witnessed their fortitude and perseverance on their health journey. These are the people who have dealt with health issues for years and years, who continue to thank God for the little blessings in the midst of their suffering. These people, who we have long admired, are full of Gods grace and we are/were grateful for their example of a strong faith. (Great is thy faithfulness)
The challenges faced by our friends (and ourselves…our names are in the book too) consist of a wide variety of human suffering. There are always many health concerns, but the list also includes people who are dealing with challenges with their children who unknowingly break their parents hearts in one way or another. Maybe their child has a mental illness, drug addiction, homelessness, broken marriage, loss of job, or a failure to thrive in this very difficult world we find ourselves in. There are children and grandchildren who get sick and die ahead of the parent or grandparent which is always heart wrenching.
We have friends who are personally dealing with dementia, stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, liver disease, cancer, lung disease, and the list goes on and on.
Then there are the friends who have no family support for one reason or another. These people are lonely and alone.
We have friends who have lost the most precious or most important person in their life…a spouse, a child, a grandchild, a parent, or maybe a sibling. Sometimes the loss comes from death and sometimes there is estrangement or separation. Whatever the reason, it is still a loss that leaves a hole in your heart.
The list of troubles that people face in this world are seemingly endless and by way of our little book, every single morning we are reminded that we are not the only ones in this world dealing with problems. Like my Mother used to say…”Sometimes I think that it would be nice to have a “Trouble Store” where I could bring in my bag of troubles and exchange them for another type. But, I suspect that once I got there and took a look around, I would say “thank you anyway…I think I will keep what I have” 🙂
Oh, how MUCH I miss that clever, witty, kind hearted woman who was my Mother. (Now here is a huge loss I have never been able to completely accept!). But, you know what? In the midst of the sorrow I always feel in the loss of her, I send up big thanks to God for Him making her my Mother in the first place. I would not trade her for anyone else in the world. So, these days, as I clean our house and pick up a picture of her here or there under which I dust, I say “Hello Mom”, and then the memories flow forth from my mind on down the inner highway to my heart where it swells with gratitude for having known her and for having the privilege to learn the lessons she provided for me! She loved to laugh and so do I! God bless her for bequeathing that trait to me!
Back to the prayer book. Are you in it? If we know you and we are aware that you are struggling with something, you are likely in the book. There are some of of you who we know better than others, but even so, if we know of a need you may have, then you are there. We not only pray for your struggles to be lifted, but we also send up gratitude prayers for when God takes them away. We have many acquaintances on our list too…people who have no idea we are praying for them. Prayer is powerful and we know that it works in Gods timing and for Gods purpose.
I will close this with another prayer I have always loved because the wording is profound in its simplicity. It is the Johnny Appleseed prayer/song.
Oh, the Lord is good to me.
And so I thank the Lord
For giving me the things I need:
The sun and the rain and the apple seed;
Oh, The Lord is good to me..
🎼 AaaaaMEN! (Praise the Lord!) 🙏🏼
Today is the day which the Lord has made…let us rejoice and be glad in it! Out, out, out I go, rejoicing all the way as I tend to all my new replacement plantings! When I water these new additions to our yard, my nurturing side steps up as I mingle with the birds, the bees, the butterflies and the little baby chameleons!
Oh the Lord is good to me…Amen!