April 16, 2021

Martin Luther~Evening Prayers of the Ancients

Recently,  I have been attempting to go through my old boxes and in the process I’ve picked up projects that I had laid aside due to the pressures of life and  calling. In particular, I was seeking the pattern of prayer of the early church and had begun to find the Hours pattern that they prayed from. I recalled my Dad saying how convicted he was when he saw a Muslim at his work take his prayer rug out and pray several times. Later I discovered that Muslims prayed five times a day because they thought that the Christians who prayed seven times a day prayed too much. How far we’ve fallen.

I read this note written on my Daily Order of Prayer chart which I’d written years ago which I committed to share with you before I went to sleep tonight. It is fitting that it is midnight, for the saints used to rise in the middle of the night and agree, “The Judgments of God are righteous altogether.” Ps.

Martin Luther wrote: Ancients prayed: prayer for preservation during the night from the devil, from terror, and from an evil sudden death. The ancients had a persistant sense of man’s helplessness while sleeping, of the kinship of sleep with death, of the devil’s cunning in making a man fall when he is defenseless. So they prayed for the protection of the holy angels and their golden weapons, for the heavenly hosts, at the time when Satan would gain power over them. Most remarkable and profound is the ancient church’s prayer that when our eyes are closed in sleep, God may nevertheless keep our hearts awake. It is the prayer that God may dwell with us and in us even though we are unconscious of His presence, that He may keep our hearts pure and holy in spite of all the cares and temptations of the night..Make our hearts ever alert to hear His call, and like the boy Samuel, answer Him even in the night, “Speak LORD; for Thy servant heareth.” (I Samuel 3:19). Even in sleep we are in the hands of God or in the power of evil. Even in sleep God can perform His wonders upon us or evile bring us to destruction. So we pray at evening: “When our eyes with our sleep are girt, Be our hearts to Thee alert; shield us LOrd, with thy right arm, Save us from sin’s dreadful harm.”  Martin Luther

I often add, May the LORD Jesus,Yeshua surround us with a hedge of His holy angels and protect us while we sleep. May He give us a good sleep so that we may wake refreshed and serve Him tommorrow with all of our hearts, mind, soul and strength. Blessing all of the Saints and both of our family trees and those who are yet to come into His kingdom. Amen. May the peace that surpasses all understanding and our Creator give you a peaceful sleep and heal all that ails you. Goodnight and may Yeshua be with you.

About jstephens

James C. Stephens was a graduate of a Buddhist Study Academy and a Buddhist leader for fourteen years (1970-1984). In 1978, he married Elizabeth, a Jewish Buddhist at a Buddhist temple. Following an accident in Japan in 1981 while on a Buddhist pilgrimage followed by an intense three year spiritual search through various other faiths and practices, James and Elizabeth made the decision to become disciples of Jesus Christ. James graduated in 1999 with a MA in Intercultural Studies from Fuller School of Intercultural Studies and in 2010, launched http://www.worldviews101.com/ which offers a twelve week course "A Christian Perspective on the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism."

He and his wife enjoy Landscape architecture, gardening, making kombucha and kefir, film, screenwriting, literature, and music.