If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”
Each night before we fall asleep we should prepare our souls to meet God. We tuck away the cares and concerns of the day and, like Christ, we find ways to pray, “Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit.”
I have noticed that when I put my soul to bed each night (in contrast to watching videos, reading secular books in bed, or just flopping down exhausted) my rest is more tranquil. If I wake, I wake in prayer. Then I even slip into morning prayer more naturally. It is a 24-hour cycle I fight to establish and maintain.
Arthur Paul Boers writes in The Rhythm of God’s Grace, “Evening prayer is a small death; we surrender ourselves into God’s hands. The morning is a small rebirth and resurrection. We often give thanks for a new day and its opportunities. This dying and rising is relived in each daily cycle. Thus, as we observe the morning and evening rhythm, we also have opportunity to live deeply and enter into the most basic and important truths of our faith.”
A book of Daily Offices, or fixed-hour prayers, helps us establish this evening/morning rhythm. I love this nighttime prayer from the Book of Common Prayer. Perhaps it will be useful to you this evening.
“Watch, O Lord, with those who wake, or watch, or weep tonight, and give Your angels and saints charge over those who sleep. Tend Your sick ones, O Lord Christ. Rest Your weary ones. Bless Your dying ones. Soothe Your suffering ones. Shield Your joyous ones, and all for your love’s sake. Amen”
Rest well tonight, beloved ones. Learn the sleep cycle practice of putting your soul to bed with God.
Other projects involving Karen Mains right now:
Karen Mains is currently involved in a mentor writing project involving teleconferencing. She has just finished a cycle with six “wannabe writers” and is brainstorming the effectiveness of her “Personal Memoir Writing” curriculum with that group. She and her husband, David, are hoping to lead a Christian trip to Kenya, Africa next March for the purpose of developing microenterprise projects.