Text: Psalm 141
For deeper awareness of your heart
For words that build up
For the Church at prayer
PSALM 141 may be familiar to you as one of the core Psalms of Evening Prayer or Vespers. It is a natural fit to that service, as it speaks of worshipping God at setting of sun/evening.
This psalm brings two things to mind:
First, David, deathly afraid of Saul, nonetheless asked the Lord to keep watch over his heart and his mouth that there would be no evil harbored within and no evil to emerge. We as Christians should be mindful in the ways in which the heart is deceitful and the tongue a spark that can light a conflagration. Let us not be deceived! Our hearts are meant for God, and if we give them to things other than God we will struggle; our tongues, though a small part of the body, can cause great damage (cf James 3). Let us ask God regularly to guard our hearts and mouths so that we do not devise or speak ill of others but be guided by the Spirit of love and cover one another with our own righteousness.
Second, prayer and worship of God is not just a Sunday morning activity; we should pray regularly and be mindful of how God touches life throughout the day. In the eighth chapter of the Didache (“The Teaching”), a church catechism dating from around 100 A.D., believers are urged to stop and pray three times throughout the day, at least saying the Lord’s Prayer. Vespers began as a prayer of thanksgiving when the evening light was brought into the home—and remember, most homes, if lit after dark at all, were lit only by a fire or a single lamp/candle, and yet our ancestors in the faith sang praise to God for the light that held darkness at bay. We have echoed that ancient practice with our own song on Wednesday evenings: Light of undying glory, shine; warming our hearts with love divine. Come from the gracious Father’s side, bathe us in joy this eventide.
Let us bathe life in prayer, trust God to guard our hearts and minds, and give thanks for the undying light that shines!
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks