July 11, 2009

Prayer: The Key of the Day, The Lock of the Night

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

יהוה בקר תשׁמע קולי בקר אערך־לך ואצפה׃

tsaphah 'arak boqer qol shama' boqer Adonai

(Remember, Hebrew is read from right to left)


I went to bed late last night, a little after midnight and I was still thinking about the death of one of our Marine Corps League members, Charlie Williams. It wasn’t that long ago that I had visited Charlie, but recently I was feeling a need to visit him again, since it had been a while when I had last seen him. I am so disappointed that I hadn’t been back to visit him more often while he was at the Bronx Veterans Administration Hospital.

I did not intend to get up a 0500 this morning, but the Lord woke me up with two consecutive dreams that troubled me greatly. I will withhold from disclosing what those two dreams were about until they come to pass.

I knew that I could not just return back to sleep and since the dreams affected me emotionally, I knew that the best thing I could do was to go and spend some time in prayer. At 5:00 a.m. there isn’t much to disturb you when you pray, but the pleasant sounds of the birds chirping in the morning as they too waken to a new day, waiting for the sun to come up.

How awesome it is, even now at such an early hour of the day, to be able to spend time with God, the Creator of heaven and earth.

As I think about it, some people, maybe many, complain of being too tired or too busy to pray, but throughout the book of Revelation there are angles and elders around the throne of God praising and worshipping Him constantly, not resting day or night saying, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” (Revelation 4:8)

I like what Charles Spurgeon says below that “prayer should be the key of the day and the lock of the night.” There is no better way to begin the day, than to get it started with God and there is no better way to finish the day, than to end it with God, in prayer.

This has really brought a new understanding to me regarding prayer and the importance of it on a daily basis, in the morning and in the evening, as well as throughout the day, but not in haste.


Lord, I thank you that you have heard me this morning and I pray Lord that this evening will be the same as it was when my day began, with You, each day and every day.


The Treasury of David by Charles Spurgeon, Psalm 5:3.

Observe, this is not so much a prayer as a resolution, “'My voice shalt thou hear,' I will not be dumb, I will not be silent, I will not withhold my speech, I will cry to thee, for the fire that dwells within compels me to pray.” We can sooner die than live without prayer. None of God's children are possessed with a dumb devil.

“In the morning.” This is the fittest time for intercourse with God. An hour in the morning is worth two in the evening. While the dew is on the grass, let grace drop upon the soul. Let us give to God the mornings of our days and the morning of our lives. Prayer should be the key of the day and the lock of the night. Devotion should be both the morning star and the evening star.

If we merely read our English version, and want an explanation of these two sentences, we find it in the figure of an archer, “I will direct my prayer unto thee, “I will put my prayer upon the bow, I will direct it towards heaven, and then when I have shot up my arrow, I will look up to see where it has gone. But the Hebrew has a still fuller meaning than this - “I will direct my prayer.” It is the word that is used for the laying in order of the wood and the pieces of the victim upon the altar, and it is used also for the putting of the shewbread upon the table. It means just this: “I will arrange my prayer before thee;” I will lay it out upon the altar in the morning, just as the priest lays out the morning sacrifice. I will arrange my prayer; or, as old Master Trapp has it, “I will marshal up my prayers, “I will put them in order, call up all my powers, and bid them stand in their proper places, that I may pray with all my might, and pray acceptably.

“And will look up,” or, as the Hebrew might better be translated, “'I will look out,' I will look out for the answer; after I have prayed, I will expect that the blessing shall come.” It is a word that is used in another place where we read of those who watched for the morning. So will I watch for thine answer, O my Lord! I will spread out my prayer like the victim on the altar, and I will look up, and expect to receive the answer by fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice.


Two questions are suggested by the last part of this verse. Do we not miss very much of the sweetness and efficacy of prayer by a want of careful meditation before it, and of hopeful expectation after it? We too often rush into the presence of God without forethought or humility. We are live men who present themselves before a king without a petition, and what wonder is it that we often miss the end of prayer? We should be careful to keep the stream of meditation always running; for this is the water to drive the mill of prayer. It is idle to pull up the flood-gates of a dry brook, and then hope to see the wheel revolve. Prayer without fervency is like hunting with a dead dog, and prayer without preparation is hawking with a blind falcon. Prayer is the work of the Holy Spirit, but he works by means. God made man, but he used the dust of the earth as a material: the Holy Ghost is the author of prayer, but he employs the thoughts of a fervent soul as the gold with which to fashion the vessel. Let not our prayers and praises be the flashes of a hot and hasty brain, but the steady burning of a well-kindled fire.

But, furthermore, do we not forget to watch the result of our supplications? We are like the ostrich, which lays her eggs and looks not for her young. We sow the seed, and are too idle to seek a harvest. How can we expect the Lord to open the windows of his grace, and pour us out a blessing, if we will not open the windows of expectation and look up for the promised favour? Let holy preparation link hands with patient expectation, and we shall have far larger answers to our prayers.


Reference

Meyers, R. (2006). e-Sword. The sword of the Lord with an electronic edge (Verson 7.8) [Computer software].

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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