Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. - Psalm 25:5
Some people are morning people. They awake refreshed, renewed, and ready to meet the day, but by evening, the enthusiasm and energy begin to wear down. Others take a little longer to get going, but when the rest of their family and friends are ready to call it a day, they are hitting their stride, eager for more. But both kinds of people have to make it through the day—and do it well. The middle of the day can be the hardest time for both.
Among the early risers are those who have developed the discipline of a quiet time of devotional reading, meditation, and prayer before they face the challenges of the day. There is much to commend this approach—but not if you already have difficulty getting out of bed in time for work! The evening people can just as easily reserve time during the lunch hour or before they retire for the night to engage in specific spiritual exercises.
George Herbert, the sixteenth-century Anglican pastor and poet, gave some of the best advice. He wrote,
Sum up at night what thou hast done by day.
And in the morning what thou hast to do,
Dress and undress thy soul.21
The idea of dressing and undressing the soul, just as we dress and undress the body, has special appeal because it points to the fact that the whole day needs to be lived in the light and power of our relationship with the Lord. This requires both preparation and evaluation. The day will present many and varied challenges and opportunities for which we need to be prepared and about which we need to be concerned.
Perhaps David said it best—”All day long I put my hope in you” (Ps. 25:5). He stated no preference for morning devotion or evening reflection, but his commitment to daily communion with the Lord and concentration on him probably required both.
Spiritual preparation and evaluation should make spiritual concentration easier during the day. Spiritual concentration is a matter of putting our trust in the Lord “all day long.” Should it be objected that the busy surgeon can’t be thinking of the Lord when he is taking out a tumor or that a truck driver can’t be praying when he’s driving a huge eighteen-wheeler down the freeway at sixty-five miles per hour, the objection would, of course, stand. However, it is possible to have an awareness of the Lord, and an inner sense of reliance on him, while doing these tasks.
If all men, including truck drivers and surgeons, start their day with a conscious waiting on the Lord, and they bear in mind that they will talk with the Lord about it at day’s end, they will be aware of living before the Lord “all day long.” Should crisis hit, their instincts will turn them promptly to the Lord. And at the end of the day, when the patient is sewn up or the truck is parked, they’ll hear the Lord saying, ”Well done.”
For Further Study: Psalm 25
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Men, Copyright ©2000 by Stuart Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
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