On Starting Anew: A Three-Part PrayerPosted by Andrew on Jan 1, 2011 in Exhortations, Meditations | 1,781 comments
Here at the start of a New Year, and the beginning of a new day, I find myself reminded by a friend to keep writing, and that my morning prayer might offer just the topic to start off with as the chill wind blows and the sun peeks through to wake and warm us all. And if indeed the mercies of God are new every morning, then perhaps a practical way of invoking those mercies may help. It helps me anyway.
Many years ago when going through great grief, a friend urged upon me this threefold way to pray “every morning in your dawn prayers.” This prayer invokes the power of the blood of Christ, the hope of the resurrection of Christ, and sure protection from the enemies of Christ.
I began praying this prayer; its daily realignment does great good in remembering Who directs these sometimes-straying steps of mine. Perhaps you will find some help too as we purpose to assign our lives entirely this year, this day, this moment to the Holy Spirit. Perhaps you will find help in this brief, three-fold prayer.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
Lord God, this morning, this moment, this small but new beginning, I accept anew Jesus’ death on the cross for me. By the Cross you have bought me with a price and I am no longer my own. Help me this day to lead this life I now live by faith in the Son of God.
- Life is in blood, and God gives us blood to cover over our sins. Jesus offers His own blood to us, and if he lives always to make intercession for us, the surely we are wise to clothe ourselves in Christ, to wrap Him round us like a robe by calling once again upon His cleansing blood. Of course our own righteousness is as filthy rags, but God gives us the very blood of His own Son to wash us whiter than snow, to create in us clean hearts, to make us altogether new once more, no matter what we’ve done, heedless to how far we sometimes stray. If God uses the very death of His Son to go on showing His love for us, then let us gratefully, gleefully accept the cross and go forth into whatever remains of this good day and sin no more.
Lord God, right now I embrace the resurrection of your Son. I believe Christ rose up from the grave on the third day and, by rising, He has changed the way life works in this world. I accept His new life into me, and call upon the power of Christ’s resurrection so I might live out these moments of this day in the high hope of Your new life in me.
- If Jesus really did rise again to new life on the third day, then surely he changed on the most fundamental levels the very meaning of life and how it appears in our own experience. Surely the resurrection can fill us with all the practical hope we could need for this day. Certainly, St. Paul is right in calling us all vain, futile and pitiful unless Christ triumphantly came bounding free from the bonds of death, giving us every grace and the hope of glory. Yes, grief, and pain, despair and disappointment so easily beset us and cling so closely. But they offer us no answers beyond the challenge to peer past them and into the life they seek to deny, beyond the unavoidable truth that new life is ours for the asking and that God himself will thrust upon us strength and courage perfectly suited to all these tasks at hand today.
Lord God, protect me this day from the fallen world around me, from my failing flesh, and from the enemy of souls. In Jesus’ name, I command all spirits not from You to depart—to flee from me, from this place, and from those I love. Lord, rebuke them, and send them to the place You have prepared from them.
- The three great enemies, the world, the flesh, and the devil, daily conspire to trouble us unto our undoing. Whether it is our own weakness, doing once again the things we don’t want to while falling so far from the things that we ought, or the wearying way of this sad world, with more news that we can manage about unspeakable atrocities and fruitless banal distractions, or the enemy of souls, the accuser, the tempter, we surely face a daily battle. To call aloud on God, to remind ourselves that in Jesus’ name we have a strong tower where we will find strength and safety, surely these things will not fail to help us all this day long. Even as we resist the devil, we take heart in the way that in us, He overcomes this world and all its trouble, grief, and pain.
Finally, as we pray, let us remain mindful that doing so means little more than to enter haltingly into the great conversation of grace, to fail miserably at it from moment to moment, and then to start anew, to pray again, to forget our sins even as He has promised to forget them, to remove them from us as far as the east from west, to cast them into the depths of the sea. As C. S. Lewis urges us, to pray and fail and pray and try again is to “let that larger, stronger, quieter, life come flowing in. And so on, all day.”
Wise friends remind me that it’s never too late to start our day over. Or our year, or this very moment. New every morning. Steadfast love. Wells that will not quit.
So nor should we.
+ Let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Thanks be to God.