Daily Bread 4.25.18

"Recently, I have been reading some of the early church fathers on the subject of prayer. Their thoughts are so poignant that I wanted to share their comments on this morning's apportioned psalm (119:49-72). In this text, the psalmist exclaims:

At midnight I rise to praise thee,

because of thy righteous ordinances.

(v. 62)

Expounding on this verse, Saint John Chrysostom (347-407 AD) taught that Christians should strive to pray throughout the day, but especially, they should pray at night. At night our minds are at rest, distractions fall away, and we find space in which to make our requests to the ‘physician of souls’. Even King David, beset as he was with the worries and cares of the crown could say, ‘At midnight I rise to praise you for the rulings of your justice’. This kind of prayer arms a Christian with an ‘invisible weaponry’, and ‘ally from on high’ which served David in his military victories, but which may equally serve us for our own battles against ‘the cohorts of the demons’.

Saint Isaac of Nineveh (640-700 AD) claimed that prayer offered at night ‘possesses great power’, since it requires struggle with our physical limitations. Thus, the psalmist says ‘I toiled in my groaning; every night I will wash my bed, with tears will I water my couch’ (Psalm 6:6). ‘And for every entreaty for which they urgently besought God,’ says Isaac, ‘they armed themselves with the prayer of night vigil, and at once they received their request.’

May we be spurred on to raise our hearts to God at night!

Blessings on your day,

Justin Appel (Director of Music)