Monday Vitamins: A Child’s Bedtime Prayer

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As a child, I learned the words, “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake. I pray to God my soul to take.” I repeated them religiously every night for many years, as my bedtime prayer. Today, I learned that the words are part of, “A Child’s  Bedtime Prayer,” by Henry Johnstone. I read the entire prayer for the first time today and realized that this childhood bedtime prayer, holds truths which are relevant for my adult life:

  • Committing my soul to my heavenly Father’s care is my best choice, in every phase of life and at its end.
  • For the length of my days, I need Him to guide me.
  • God’s eyes are on me and He is my Protector.
  • Praying for and helping others must be a central part of my life.

What truths do you see in this bedtime prayer?

Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray to God my soul to take.
If I should live for other days,
I pray the Lord to guide my ways.

Father, unto thee I pray,
Thou has guarded me all day;
Safe I am while in thy sight,
Safely let me sleep tonight
Bless my friends, the whole world bless;
Help me to learn helpfulness;
Keep me every in thy sight;
So to all I say good night.

 

 

 

Christ, at home in our hearts

“And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in Him…” (Ephesians 3:17, TLB)

A friend of several decades means it when she tells a guest, “Make yourself at home.”  The first time I spent the weekend with her and her family, during the early days of our friendship, after taking me to the guest bedroom to deposit my bags, she walked me into the kitchen. There she opened cabinet doors and the refrigerator to familiarize me with the contents.  We moved on through other rooms in the house with my friend opening doors to reveal where items such as extra bed linen, towels, etc. were stored. Then to the family room in the basement, where she demonstrated how to use the television and other devices. My friend made it clear that her home was mine for the duration of the current visit and all future ones.

As I read and reread the words, “And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living with you as you trust in Him,” I wondered about the reality of Jesus being at home in my heart, as I was in my friend’s home. And I thought of a song I sang as a child:

Into my heart, into my heart
Come into my heart, Lord Jesus
Come in today, come in to stay
Come into my heart, Lord Jesus

I invited Him in as a child but Ephesians 3:17 invites me to reflect on whether He is fully at home in my grown-up heart as He was in my childhood heart. Is Christ increasingly at home there, “living within” as I trust in Him? If He is not “more and more at home” in my heart how will I know, and what then needs to happen in my heart to make this a reality?  Are there doors I closed over the years which I need to unlock to give Him unrestrained access?  Walls which need to be demolished?

What about you?

Let us commit to taking whatever steps are necessary for Him to be “more and more at home” in our hearts.

Monday Vitamins: Rooted in His Love

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And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high His love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God Himself.” (Ephesians 3:17-19, TLB)

Wednesay evening prayer

It is Wednesday evening and the Cross is on my mind
The Cross and The Lamb and His willing submission to the Father’s will in all forms

It is Wednesday evening and the longing is there to keep His death, burial, and resurrection center place in my heart, mind, and spirit
Center place in my decisions and my interactions with other image bearers
Center place in my secret places
Bringing them to the Light
Causing any idols hidden there to be reduced to ashes
Center place in my broken places
Offering them up for the healing He paid for with His torn flesh

The thing is, Father, You know I have felt these longings before
But they did not translate into sustained action or change
Show me how to make them so, Abba
Show me how

Lead me to the Cross by Hillsong

Monday Vitamins: Praying Ephesians 3:16-19

 “May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality].

strengthened

May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love,

rooted

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That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it];

 Limitless-poster

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[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! (Ephesians 3:16-19, Amplified Bible)

Prepare Him Room

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room…

Prince William and his wife, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, are in NY as I write this. I acknowledge unashamedly that I cannot fully imagine all that was necessary to prepare for their visit. I think also of my own preparations when a family member is coming to visit. There are all the different tasks, none which feels onerous, to prepare the guest room just so. There is also the anticipation of the arrival which makes me smile wide and often.

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room…

My preparations for Christmas Day began the Saturday after Thanksgiving. My tree with its gold snowflakes, balls, ribbons, and clear lights is completely decorated. The mantle above the fireplace has a similar color scheme, combined with a Nativity scene, framed by three red cranberry spice scented candles and two angels, one at each end. A wreath with four battery operated candles are components of the center piece on the coffee table. A wreath hangs on my front door. The menu is a work in progress as are the decorations for the dining room table.

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room…

What about the preparations of my heart? How am I preparing my heart for Him, my King, this Christmas? How am I preparing myself to celebrate Christmas so that He, my Savior, is truly the focus of the celebration of His birthday? Umm. “Let every heart prepare Him room.”

Scents of Christmas

“Cranberry spice,” was the label on one candle. I imagined the candle on the mantle of my fireplace and placed three in my cart. On another shelf, the label on a red packet proclaimed, “Red Hot Cinnamon: Luxurious Simmering Potpourri.” I picked up the packet and the scent of cinnamon teased my nose. I inhaled and could imagine the scent filling my home.

Scents. They are such an essential part of Christmas.

Freshly baked bread.

FRESH-BAKED-BREADPumpkin pie.

Pumpkin-Pie-ImageA natural Christmas tree.

Christmas-Tree-Natural-Wallpapers-3Pine Cones.

Pine_cone_edit I am thinking also of another scent that can permeate our lives this Christmas season as we engage in every activity, including standing in long lines to purchase groceries and gifts. The scent I am thinking of is that of prayer. In Psalm 141:2, David prayed, “Let my prayer be like incense offered before You, and my uplifted hands like the evening sacrifice.”

Revelation chapter 5 paints a gripping scene in which the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, Who is also the Lamb, takes center place and is worshiped. He is worshiped by angels, and elders, and the living creatures, and every creature in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and in the sea. In the midst of this awe inspiring scene, our prayers are mentioned. Verse 8 states, “Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (emphasis added). Our prayers are incense to the One Who sits on the Throne and to the Lamb.

incenseWhat would happen if this incense permeates our lives this Christmas? What if we prayed for each person on our Christmas card and/or gift list? Prayed as we purchased their gift and/or wrapped it? What if we prayed for the impatient person ahead of us in line? The frazzled cashier? The person who cuts us off in traffic? The postal worker or whomever it is who delivers our mail this Christmas season? For those who are without whatever we are enjoying in a given moment … warmth, shelter, fellowship, a meal? What if we prayed for ourselves … that His peace will flood our hearts, that we will chose joy, that we quiet our souls in His presence, that we remain focused on Him Who is both the Giver of every good and perfect gift and the Gift? What if we prayed as we never have before during previous Christmases?

The prayers mentioned above involve petitions but I pray that our prayers also be prayers of worship, praise and thanksgiving. Prayers in which we do not make any requests; instead we worship Him for Who He is. Prayers in which we praise and thank Him for what He has done and is doing. Prayers in which we thank Him for loving us and we express our love to Him.

May our lives be scented with prayer this Christmas.

Photo Credits: Bread. Pumpkin Pie. Tree. Pine Cone. Incense.