Start of the Day prayer for Lent 2016
We often think of prayer in the context of a ‘prayer time’. Perhaps you are able to organise a daily prayer time, or perhaps you have struggled to put aside a specific amount of time each day for prayer. It is a great thing if you can do that…but this is not the final goal in prayer. In Ephesians 6 : 8 Paul writes, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” So the final goal is continuous dialogue with God which breaks into every aspect of our day-to-day lives. This is a difficult thing to do! Some people have tried to do this by becoming monks, nuns or hermits. Some have used the Jesus Prayer to achieve this goal. Frank C. Laubach came up with his ‘Game of Minutes’ method of engaging with God, where he set himself the task of remembering God’s presence within every minute of his waking day. He wrote that was his way of “practicing the presence of God”, which was a phrase that became famous through the book, “The Practice of the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence.
So how can we possibly climb such a mountain? The short answer is one step at a time. Certainly, putting aside a specific time for prayer each day is really important. That may start off as just five minutes each day, but those five minutes can be well used prayer time. Hopefully you will be able to build up that time for prayer as you become an experienced pray-er, and learn to love the time you spend with God. But here’s another small step that may be useful in your journey towards becoming a more prayerful person…why not create for yourself a short prayer to say at the moment you wake up from your night’s sleep? There are several opinions about how many times you have to do something before it becomes a habit. Some say it takes 21 days. Some say it takes 28 or 30 days. Whatever the truth may be, there are 47 days from the beginning of Lent till Easter Sunday. So here’s the Lenten challenge…to come up with your own ‘Start of the Day’ prayer, and then try to say the prayer the moment you wake up each morning for Lent and see if it becomes a holy habit that goes on for the rest of your life. So here are two pieces of advice concerning your writing of the prayer: 1) Keep the prayer short. 2) Say something that would fit the start of any day.
To help you, here is my own ‘Start of the Day’ prayer.
Good morning Father.
Thank you for this new day.
May your will be done in it,
In me and through me,
And in the lives of all I know and love.
As a matter of interest, the well known preacher John Stott had his own start the morning prayer….which went like this:
Good morning heavenly Father,
good morning Lord Jesus,
good morning Holy Spirit.
Heavenly Father, I worship you as the creator and sustainer of the universe.
Lord Jesus, I worship you, Savior and Lord of the world.
Holy Spirit, I worship you, sanctifier of the people of God.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
Heavenly Father, I pray that I may live this day in your presence
and please you more and more.
Lord Jesus, I pray that this day I may take up my cross and follow you.
Holy Spirit, I pray that this day you will fill me with yourself and cause your fruit to ripen in my life:
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, three persons in one God,
have mercy upon me. Amen.
– John Stott, quoted in Basic Christian: The Inside Story of John Stott