"Pray always." (1 Thes. 5,17) What else does this simple scriptural sentence mean except that all our lives God calls us to prayer? Praying is not easy. Every day so many other things call for attention. And the world around us puts little value on prayer; it tells us to put our minds to more important matters. It is not easy to pray today. Yet God tells us to pray. Beginning and ending the day are privileged moments for prayer. These morning and evening prayers drawn from the psalms and the scriptures also include selections from the word of God. During the Advent, Christmas, and Lenten seasons, which are the great seasons of prayer for the church, you will find special resources at this web site. As you use this site, may the Holy Spirit within you come to your aid and guide you gently to the God who loves you.
"Pray always," St. Paul says in his letter to the Thessalonians. (1 Thessalonians 5,17) At the very least, Paul wants prayer to be part of our daily life. But that's not easy. As soon as our eyes open in the morning we're often in a rush. Get ready! Go! And we're off to work or school or the chores of the day. Morning prayer gets us ready for what the day brings. St Basil, a wise 4th century saint from Asia Minor, said: "We pray in the morning to give the first stirrings of our minds to God. Before anything else, let the thought of God gladden you." Begin the day by seeking God's blessing, the saint advises. God meets us in the morning not as a taskmaster, but as a loving presence who strengthens and gladdens us for the day.
"The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want." (Psalm 22)
Prayer - and it may be just a short prayer - enables us to begin the day, not alone, but with God. It raises and gladdens our tired spirits that so easily lose their appetite for life. It provides a strengthening grace so that we enter the day, not groaning, but hoping in our Savior and our God.
"Why are you cast down my soul, why groan within me? Hope in God.
I will praise him still, my Savior and my God." (Psalm 42)
And what about living our day wisely? We need wisdom in our words, thoughts, and in the choices we make. Why not ask for the wisdom of God?
"Lord, teach us to number our days aright,that we may gain wisdom of heart."
Before going into the day, let's pray.
Evening is another traditional time to pray. And for good reason. Whether we know it or not, we review our day in the evening.
Usually it's an uneven picture, isn't it? There are good experiences. And there are hurts, disappointments, and failures. Evening is a natural time to review them all. Unfortunately some of us lose evening's reflective opportunities by working day and night. We don't slow down. Or we become addicted to television (or the Internet). Trapped in someone else's world, we don't see our own. And so an opportunity for reflection goes unused.
A good time for dialogue with God The evening is a good time for dialogue with God. For the end of the day quietly raises questions, though we may hardly be aware of them. "Have I accomplished anything?" we ask. " What have I done? There's so much still to do. Is it worth it?" we ask. And sleep, the sister of death, reminds us that this life ends. What comes next?
The God of evening The God of the evening is a wise counselor and confidant who, like a mother holding her child, calms our fears and offers us hope.
"O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor are my eyes haughty; I busy not myself with great things too sublime for me. Nay rather, I have stilled and quieted my soul like a weaned child. Like a weaned child on its mother's lap, so is my soul within me." (Psalm 131)
Like pilgrims after one day's journey, we stop to rest. And as we do, God promises life, not death.
"The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom should I fear? The Lord is my life's refuge, of whom should I be afraid? One thing I ask of the Lord; this I seek: To dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life." (Psalm 27)
The evening hours are a good time for prayer.