I am a morning person. I like the excitement a new day brings with all her opportunities and challenges. It’s my time for prayer, reading, and meditation. I do my best work before lunch, and to be honest, I believe afternoons were created for naps – at least that’s what Sadie, my dog, and Joey, my cat, are trying to convince me of. But this week, I was reading in Genesis and noticed the Lord met with Adam in the cool of the evenings.
Have you ever wondered what they talked about? It probably wasn’t sports or politics. Perhaps Adam shared his discoveries and asked those questions that haunt our days. It must have been a special time for them, and so I’ve been thinking about the blessings of talking with God before bed. It seems a natural time to share your worries and your complaints. It is the time to pray for our families and friends, but I wonder if we shouldn’t take a lesson from the example of Adam. What if we started planning to meet God in the cool of the evening? It’s a great time to say thank you. (I don’t do that enough!) It would be a good time to share what we learned today.
In ancient Judaism, there were morning sacrifices and evening sacrifices.
“Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two lambs a year old regularly each day. One lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer in the evening” (Exodus 29:38–39).
This became the “sacrifice of prayer,” and we see the early Christians praying in the Temple in the morning and the afternoon (Acts 4). Later, in the Middle Ages, the monks prayed seven times a day (Matins at nighttime, Lauds in the early morning, Prime at the first hour of daylight, Terce at the third hour, Sext at noon, Nones in the afternoon, Vespers at sunset, and Compline at the end of the day.) Sadly, the prayers became very formal and “by the book.” A Psalter was required for the songs; lectionaries were used for the assigned readings. Bibles were read to “proclaim the reading.” A hymnal was used for the appropriate songs. Finally, these were all incorporated into a breviary, and the “Lord’s Prayer” was repeated three times a day.
Sigh. Why do we tend to make things complicated and formal? But I do think we need to begin our days and our nights with prayers – chats with God before bed.