Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Works of Our Hands

Our friend Nathan Lee Lewis from the Journey to Orthodoxy blog posted a reflection from his father, Bill H. Lewis, a Southern Baptist minister in Arkansas. It begins:
The first prayer I utter each morning is “Lord, order my steps.” Actually I am saying, “Lord, you are in charge”...The prayer, “Lord, order my steps today” or “Lord, I really do not know what is best for me today. I will depend on you to order for me” is a “catch all” prayer...

Let’s just praise the Lord. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.” (Psalm 37:23 NKJV) You don’t need to “watch your steps” if you have already turned them over to the Lord at the beginning of the day and continue to trust Him to guide you throughout the day. God promises to guide [watch] your steps when you give Him the opportunity and commit to follow Him.
His father may be interested to hear in the Benedictine tradition of the canonical Western Rite, we put this devotional into practice most pointedly while praying the office of Prime. (Prime is the first hour, said before everyone goes to work. In monasteries, this is where the day's work assignments were given out.) We pray:
O Lord God Almighty, Who hast brought us to the beginning of this day; Defend us in the same with Thy mighty power, that we may not fall into any sin, but that all our thoughts, words, and deeds may be direct to the fulfillment of Thy righteousness. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen.
Again, following the Martyrology, we pray:
O Lord God, King of heaven and earth, vouchsafe this day to direct and sanctify, to rule and govern our hearts and bodies, our thoughts, words, and deeds, in the ways of Thy laws and in the works of Thy commandments; that by Thy help we may be saved and delivered, both now and ever, O Savior of the world, Who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.
At the close of the Chapter meeting, the presiding individual prays this blessing: "The Lord Almighty order our days and our doings in His peace." For much of the year, this is immediately followed by the "Short Lesson," taken from II Thessalonians 3:5:
The Lord direct your hearts and bodies into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.
There is also a plea:
And the glorious majesty of the Lord our God be upon us; prosper Thou the work of our hands upon us, O prosper Thou our handiwork.
In all, it's a wonderful way to start the day, a way that all Christians might find most edifying.

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Blogger Nathan Lee Lewis said...

One tires eventually of reinventing the wheel. Thanks be to God for providing everything we need with in the traditions and scripture for faith and practice. I will never cease to draw from the wells of the faith of our fathers.

6:29 AM  

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