May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. Psalm 141:2
Will our thoughts this morning be the same this evening? And when the day ends, what will be our longings? Edgar A. Guest expresses this wish: "I don't want to stand with the setting sun, And hate myself for things I've done." Edgar A. Poe, another poet, anticipates the solace of sleep: "For the heart whose woes are legion 'Tis a peaceful soothing region." Thomas Ken penned those familiar lines from "Tallis' Canon:" "Forgive me, Lord, for Thy dear Son, The ill that I this day have done; That with the world, myself, and Thee, I, ere I sleep, at peace may be."
Believers mentioned in the Bible have looked ahead toward evening. The psalmist wants both his daytime and evening prayers to be acceptable to God: "May my prayer be set before You like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice" (Psalm 141:2). Many times God reveals His love at eventide.
Consider that first Easter day when two disciples were walking to Emmaus and the as-yet-unidentified Jesus joined them. They wanted Him to be their guest. "Stay with us," they said, "for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over" (Luke 24:29). Christians throughout the world join Cleopas and his friend in wanting Jesus to spend the night with them. They know that His edifying words would open the Scriptures to them.
Saint Paul's concern is similar to that of the poet Guest, cited above. He doesn't want the emotions of the day, if evil, to be continued into the night and beyond. He writes, "Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry" (Ephesians 4:26). If the events of the day provoke anger, especially in situations involving a co-worker, it is best to make peace then and there.
As we look toward evening, we likewise ask Jesus to be our guest, our dear visitor, whose words will renew our faith in Him as our Savior from death and sin and as our Lord risen from the dead.
PRAYER: Stay with me, O Lord, as evening approaches, and keep me from all harm and danger during the night. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)