The Morning Prayer

I love this passage speaking of morning devotions and prayer by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I ran across it in the book Watch and Pray, Christian teachings on the Practice of Prayer edited by Lorraine Kisly.

Before the heart unlocks itself from the world, God wants to open it for himself; before the ear takes in the countless voices of the day, it should hear in the early hours the voice of the Creator and Redeemer. God prepared the stillness of the first morning for himself. It should remain his.

Before our daily bread should be the daily Word. Only thus will the bread be received with thanksgiving. Before our daily work should be the morning prayer. Only thus will the work be done as the fulfillment of God’s command. The morning must yield an hour of quiet time for prayer and common devotion. That is certainly not wasted time. How else could we prepare ourselves to face the tasks, cares, and temptations of the day? And although we are often not “in the mood” for it, such devotion is an obligatory service to the One who desires our praises and prayers, and who will not otherwise bless our day but through his Word and our prayers.

It is wrong to say that we are being “legalistic” when we are concerned with the ordering of our Christian life and with our faithfulness in requirements of Scripture reading and prayer. Disorder undermines and destroys the faith: any theologian who confuses evangelical freedom with lack of discipline needs to learn that. Whoever wants to carry out properly any fully developed spiritual office, without bringing both self and work to ruin by mere activism, must learn early on the spiritual discipline of the servant of Jesus Christ…

Proceeding from the Word of God, we pray everything that the Word teaches us; we bring the coming day before God and cleanse our thoughts and intentions before him; we pray above all to be in full communion with Jesus Christ. We do not want to forget to pray for ourselves: “ascribe to yourself honor according to your worth.” Next, the broad field of intercession lies before us. Here our view expands to see persons and things near and far, in order to comment them to the grace of God… each of us knows of persons who otherwise would scarcely have anyone to pray for them. Nor should we forget to thank God for those who help and strengthen us by their intercessions. We do not want to conclude the quiet time of prayer before we have repeated the Amen with great conviction…

Now God has spoken his Word in the silence of the morning…We can go to our day’s work with confidence.

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