January 03, 2010

A Prayer to End the Day

Psalm 4

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4:8


Many of us have “anxiety dreams.” For example, we dream that we show up to a school exam unprepared and only half–dressed. Or our ex–spouse is in the next room as we are about to get married. Or we miss our bus or train and are late for an important meeting. Yesterday’s regrets and tomorrow’s worries fill our thoughts.

Like a monster under the bed or a bogeyman in our closet, bullying anxiety growls to life. Will my boyfriend ditch me? Will we lose our house or our car? Will we reconcile with our children? Will the doctor give us a good report?

In the sixth century Benedict created a pattern of daily living in which his monks would combine work and prayer. Every two weeks the monks would pray the entire Psalter. Every evening, in the final worship of the day, they would pray Psalm 4. Its content (personal troubles) and its setting (evening) were especially fitting.

Most of us have rituals for ending each day. We watch the evening news. We read a book. We brush our teeth and lock the doors. Maybe it’s time for another ritual. Maybe we should try reading from the psalms and closing with this model prayer for the evening (Psalm 4). And did you know there’s also a model prayer for the morning (Psalm 5)? These psalms can help us begin and end our day with God.

Visit this place, O Lord, and drive far from it all snares of the enemy. Let your angels dwell with us to preserve us in peace, and let your blessing be on us always. In Jesus, Amen

About the author — Kevin Adams

Dr. Kevin Adams has served as a church planter/pastor in the Sacramento, California, area since 1991. He and his wife, Gerry, began Granite Springs Church in Lincoln, and this congregation has helped to nourish several other church plants. Kevin also serves as a director of the Sierra Leadership Network, a training program for new church leaders.

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