Daily Devotional for Small Group Discussion: The Morning Watch
- What are your practices of “acute engagement with God,” as the author phrases it?
- How do you wait on God when in joy? in difficulty? in loneliness?
- When have you experienced God’s closeness?
My soul waits for the Lord. More than the keepers of the morning watch. More than the keepers of the morning watch. – Psalm 130:6 (adapted)
Sometimes when I read the psalms, I skip over the laments. Psalms like 130 begin with sadness that can feel like buzzkill on a good day. “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.” But what if we are not in the depths?
Psalm 130 acknowledges the rhythm of life that includes moments of joy and moments of difficulty. In either place, we will find that our “soul waits for the Lord.” There is always a part of us that needs God. On a sleepless night, in moments of loneliness, in the swirl of complicated emotions, in any of these places, we need God close.
Our discipline of prayer comes directly out of this waiting on God, this sense of anticipation. We enter our prayer lives knowing that as we divert our attention from our usual routines to a deeper time of prayer, God will be there.
Of course, we might also be in the depths. And if we are not today, some day we will be. The practice of acute engagement with God, no matter the circumstance or feeling of the day, will always, always be worth exercising. This could be as simple as remembering to say “thank you” to God when something goes well.
Maybe our souls are in the holding pattern of endless night, waiting, waiting as the psalm repeats for the dawn of a new day. Or maybe all we see is daylight. Psalm 130 reminds us that life will always include night and day. But, as another psalm reminds us (Psalm 139), night is not night to God, who is always, always awake with the response to our most fervent prayers.
When shadows spend the night, Holy God, please bring us the joy that morning promises. Amen.
Kaji Douša is the Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, in New York City.