September 25, 2018

Evening Prayer

Psalm 31:1-5

Into your hands I commit my spirit.

—  Psalm 31:5

Yesterday we reflected on the importance of starting each day with prayer. Today we’ll look at how valuable it is to pray at the end of the day.

Evening prayer has a dual focus. On the one hand, we look back on the events of the day with gratitude and confession. We thank God for his abundant goodness, and we ask forgiveness for the sins we have committed that day.

On the other hand, we look ahead to the nighttime and ask God to protect us as we sleep. As we recognize our vulnerability and dependence on God, we entrust ourselves to his watchful care: “He who ­watches over you will not slumber” (Psalm 121:3).

Psalm 31 includes both of these elements. Here we find a prayer for deliverance as well as an expression of trust. It’s been said that the words “Into your hands I commit my spirit” served as a bedtime prayer that Jewish parents taught their children. It’s the prayer Jesus spoke just before dying on the cross (Luke 23:46). As he closed his eyes in the sleep of death, he placed his trust in God.

Because of Jesus, we have the assurance of forgiveness and the certainty of God’s watchful love. So before you sleep, talk to the Lord. Thank him for his grace, and place your fragile life in his strong hands.

At the end of the day I pray to you, Lord. Thank you for taking care of me and forgiving me. You are my God, and I am your child. I trust in you. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

About the author — Peter Hoytema

Peter Hoytema has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and has served congregations in Ontario and New Jersey. He is currently the pastor of a congregation in Strathroy, Ontario. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, are the parents of four adult children.

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