Father, in the Morning

There is something precious about a new day. A new start. A new beginning. God was good when He factored new beginnings into our life plan. What would life be like if it were a continuous, uninterrupted stream? We weren’t made to take it. We need the break, the refreshing, the reviving that comes with a fresh start.

Jesus recognized that we live and work by the day. What did He say in His prayer that suggests this?

Matthew 6:11  11Give us this day our daily bread.

Daily bread—bread for each day.

Brother Nichols had a little rhyme that he is said to have often used to begin the day.

“Better today than ever before
Let us sing this new song as we turn the page o’er.”

It’s like a reboot for the computer. It puts everything back in order. With a fresh start daily, Christian living is never old, never stale, never monotonous. It takes away the burden of weariness to give us the desire to get up and try again where we tripped the day before.

Did you learn the little rhyme when you were young?

“And 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.”

I picked up this bit of verse from a paper someone—I have no idea who—left behind at our house. I was maybe 6 or 7, I knew it wasn’t quite right, that God wouldn’t “take” my soul anywhere, but something about it I liked to think about. I tried to fix it to keep the rhyme and make it say what would be “right,” but never could quite get there. Best I could get was to replace the last line with a repeat of the second, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. We want God’s overnight keeping. Why?

Psalm 121:3–4  3He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. 4Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

He and His angels are on duty 24/7. Isn’t it a great promise?

What does Jeremiah say about a new start every day?

Lamentations 3:22–23  22Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

As children of God, we have an obligation. Nothing worthwhile can be accomplished without a plan to recognize and correct failures, mistakes, errors, misjudgments, compromises. A careless, haphazard approach is doubly dangerous in character building. Work so exacting needs watchful concentration, especially considering the human (shall we call it animal?) nature we must deal with. Whatever we do, it is “right there” in our face.

What did Jesus say?

Matthew 26:41  41Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

This makes conflict. The tendency to deviate from the law of God is strong. It is “old” man against “new.” Flesh against spirit. Whose “side” shall “we” take? Paul has the answer:

Galatians 5:16–17 16I say then: Walk in the Spirit [repeat: Walk in the Spirit], and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Walk in the spirit—take the new way, God’s way, the higher way. Why?

17For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

Say “No!” to self. The best time to make this resolve is when the day begins.

Let us first thought be of gratitude to God—for rest, for continued life,  for “waking up” and new opportunity! David said it well:

Psalm 5:3  3My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct [my prayer] to You, And I will look up.

David was apparently at the point of falling asleep, and promised God that he would meet Him in the morning.

With David it was more than a once-a-day greeting.

Psalm 55:17  17Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice.

Yes, let prayer be the attitude to set the pattern for the whole day, to make the whole day an offering to God. How frequently did Paul advise us to pray?

1 Thessalonians 5:16–18  16Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Let prayer frame the day. Keep it in mind that we are not here on our own, that God makes possible our every breath, every move, every thought, every heartbeat. For all we are in debt to the Great God who gives us life.

What did Paul say about God to the pagan spirit worshiping people of Athens?

Acts 17:24–28  24God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28for in Him we live and move and have our being

The Psalmist said something else about his personal prayer.

Psalm 143:7–8 7Answer me speedily, O Lord; My spirit fails! Do not hide Your face from me, Lest I be like those who go down into the pit. 8Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, For in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For I lift up my soul to You.

First he prays for a quick audience with God:

7Answer me speedily, O Lord; My spirit fails!

Then he wants a reply, coupled with a visible path to walk.

8Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, For in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For I lift up my soul to You.

A sincere prayer. Let it be ours also, today and every day.

Let us sing it from our hymnbook, The Peaceful Hour, #19 in the Green book.