In the Morning

Psalm 23:4 | Faith that Matters

In the Morning, Trust God

~ Eugene Peterson

O Lord, in the morning Thou dost hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for Thee, and watch. — Psalm 5:3 RSV

The work of God begins while we are asleep and without our help. He continues to work through the day in our worship and obedience. A sacrifice is the material means of assembling a life before God in order to let God work with it.

Sacrifice isn’t something we do for God but simply setting out the stuff of life for Him to do something with.

On the altar the sacrificial offering is changed into what is pleasing and acceptable to God. In the act of offering we give up ownership and control, and watch to see what God will do with it. With a deep awareness that the God who speaks life into us also listens when we speak, we put into words the difficulties and delights that we foresee in the hours ahead. We assemble fears and hopes, apprehensions and anticipations, and place them on the altar as an offering.

A pivotal word in the morning is the word watch. We watch to see what God will do with the array of concerns we set before Him. Morning prayer places us before the watchful God, readying us to enter the day watchful for dangers to recede, for the dangerous day to fill with God’s angels.

Lord, this early hour I bring to you all of my apprehensions — trusting You, watching You. Amen.

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The Voice in the Garden of Solitude

~ Henri J. M. Nouwen

In the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. — Mark 1:35 NKJV

Solitude is the garden for our hearts, which yearn for love. It is the place where our aloneness can bear fruit. It is the home for our restless bodies and anxious minds. Solitude, whether it is connected with a physical space or not, is essential for our spiritual lives. It is not an easy place to be, since we are so insecure and fearful that we are easily distracted by whatever promises immediate satisfaction. Solitude is not immediately satisfying, because in solitude we meet our demons, our addictions, our feelings of lust and anger, and our immense need for recognition and approval. But if we do not run away, we will meet there also the One who says, “Do not be afraid. I am with you, and I will guide you through the valley of darkness.”

Let’s keep returning to our solitude.

What is your strategy for seeking the voice of the Lord in your own solitary place? How can you make enjoying silent periods a habit?

Lord, help me seek Your voice in the garden of solitude to obtain companionship, security, release, and guidance. Amen.

Excerpted with permission from Faith That Matters by Dallas Willard, Henri J. M. Nouwen, Frederick Buechner, A. W. Tozer, N. T. Wright, James Bryan Smith, copyright Biblica, Inc.

 

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Your Turn

Today is a brand new opportunity to seize the morning for solitude with God. Let’s take it! Come share your thoughts about morning-time with Jesus on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily

Dallas Willard

Dallas Willard was a professor at the University of Southern California's School of Philosophy. His groundbreaking books The Divine Conspiracy and The Spirit of the Disciplines have forever changed the way thousands of Christians experience their faith.

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