I wrote last week about the service of Compline – or Night Prayer – and the thought of God watching over us through the night. When we have arrived safely to the light of another day, the opening prayer in the service for the morning begins

‘The night has passed, and the day lies open before us…’

It always seems rather a challenge to me – a whole big empty day and what will I have done, or not done, by the time I get to the end of it?  How may my life have changed, if at all? Of course, at some stages of our lives, we may not even have time to stop and think – or even to say the prayer- before we get stuck in! The baby is desperate for a feed, the train to work leaves in thirty minutes and I’ve overslept, can’t remember if I put the children’s sports kit to dry last night. One day I got to school wearing one black shoe and one navy shoe – same style but totally different colours! For others, those who are alone, or desperately sad, perhaps even the newly retired, the day may seem like a mountain to be climbed before we can decently close the curtains and look forward to the anonymity of sleep once again. I used to think it would be good if we could spread all our life’s activity equally over our lifetime, but life is just not like that!

The 24th verse of psalm 118 reads

‘This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.’

The themes of the psalm are thanksgiving to God and reliance on God. Even when things are hard, either because we have far too much to do or because the challenges of the day ahead seem too great to bear, we need to remember that we are always in the presence of God. God is always awake and watching over us, just as much in the daytime as in the dim recesses of the night, so we can rejoice and say ‘Thank God’ using whatever tone of voice fits our mood best!

The whole prayer for the morning reads

‘The night has passed, and the day lies open before us;
Let us pray with one heart and mind.
Silence is kept.
As we rejoice in the gift of this new day,
So may your presence, O God,
Set our hearts on fire with love for you;
Now and forever. Amen

Whatever our challenge for the day, the love of God will carry us through.

 [Jo Spray]