While preparing for my Letters to Malcolm course, I’ve been reading a bit in Bonhoeffer’s Life Together. Since Lewis’ book is about private prayer and not corporate, I wanted to see if Bonhoeffer would raise any issues about corporate prayer that would act as a foil to Lewis.
Anyhow, I’ve just read Bonhoeffer on how important it is to have prayer in the morning before going to work. His words about our daily work are really insightful. But I pause a bit at the way he talks so absolutely about the relation of morning prayer and work, or “how our day goes.” It’s just because of what my own experience has been through the years regarding the matter of praying before you do anything else in the day. Here’s my reaction:
I have found this rule about morning prayer and work to be generally true. But if for some reason we miss this particular time for prayer in the morning, the Lord’s mercies are through the whole day. We may suspect that our struggles through the day may have been lessened had we prayed, but we can bank on God mercifully hearing us through the day when we need him. We have to beware of thinking we are locked into an automatic equation: no morning prayer = no good day. It leads to a legalistic relating to the Lord and a mercenary attitude as well. We want to pray in the morning because it is the right thing to do and God deserves our praises – not so we can have a happier or more successful day. Our life with God is based, not on our performance in any duty, but in the mercy and grace of God to us through Christ. My 2 cents.
What are your thoughts about it? Do you feel down or oppressed in someway if you have missed a time of prayer first thing in the morning? Why is prayer at the beginning of the day so important to you?