“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up” (Psalm 5:3).
At what time of the day do you have your first thought of God? This question from a sermon on morning prayer by Rev. Haak really made me stop and think (Sermonaudio.com, A Prayer for the Beginning of the Day, Georgetown PRC, September 17, 2017). When did I first think about God today? Did I sit down and do my morning devotions, meditating on God’s Word and praying for grace for the day? Or was I running late so my morning devotions got dropped? Maybe my first thought of God was a hurried prayer before eating my breakfast, more out of habit than actual gratitude and praise to the One who gave me that food. Or maybe I did say a quick prayer to thank God for the morning and a good night’s sleep before I climbed out of bed. If in God we live, and move, and have our being (Acts 17:28), then how can we take even one step into the day without thinking of God? Yet the sad and humbling truth for most of us is that we too often get pretty far into our day before we stop to think about God.
Thoughts of God come especially when we read God’s Word, meditate upon it, and pray using that Word to guide our prayers. As we begin each day, it’s so important to consciously commit our day to God. In this way we submit to whatever His will may be for the day and look to Him as the only strength for the day’s work. “As we begin our day in prayerful contemplation of the Word and its exposing of our weaknesses and extolling of the Lord’s gracious powers, the Lord will make us strong” (Standard Bearer, Vol. 95, No. 19, pg. 449, “To Teach Them War: Our Marching Orders,” Rev. Brian Huizinga).
As my pastor, Rev. Huizinga, said in a recent sermon, morning prayer is like a tasty lifesaver (Sermonaudio.com, Jesus Praying Before Day, Hope PRC Redlands, August 20, 2017). It’s something to suck on throughout the day, from which to draw satisfaction and comfort. It’s a way to hide God’s Word in our heart, from which we draw strength in whatever joys, difficulties, and temptations we face.
To conclude I want to share a poem from a little book I recently found called Poems That Preach. This poem, called “The Secret,” illustrates the power and importance of morning prayer quite effectively, with the last two lines summing it up very well.
“The Secret” by Ralph S. Cushman
I met God in the morning
When the day was at its best,
And His presence came like sunrise,
Like a glory in my breast.
All day long the presence lingered,
All day long He stayed with me,
And we sailed in perfect calmness
O’er a very troubled sea.
Other ships were blown and battered,
Other ships were sore distressed,
But the winds that seemed to drive them
Brought to us a peace and rest!
Then I thought of other mornings,
With a keen remorse of mind,
When I too had loosed the moorings
With the Presence left behind.
So I think I know the secret,
Learned from many a troubled way;
You must seek Him in the morning
If you want Him through the day.