Sunnuntai 19.11.2017
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Jeesus sanoo: "Valvokaa siis, sillä te ette tiedä, koska talon herra tulee: illalla vai keskiyöllä, kukonlaulun aikaan vai aamun jo valjetessa." Mark. 13:35

Blog: Morning prayer

in English 15.6.2017 06:33 | Päivämies-verkkolehti
When I open my eyes, I see dim light streaming in through the chinks of the venetian blind. The room is still dark, the house silent. Sunday morning. I sigh gratefully. I can stay in bed and watch the slender trunks of leafless trees outlined against the sky. Follow the lingering dusk slowly release its hold on them.
The little one by my side turns over, wraps her arms around my neck and presses her silky cheek against mine. So dear. How happy I am to have her! How happy to have all the children that have been given to us. Proud of the adolescents approaching adulthood, immeasurably grateful for these small arms that still hug me.

Next to the child my spouse still asleep. So familiar and dear. Could life ever be better than this. 

Father, all that you have done has been good. Thank you for protecting us through the night. Bless all of us today. Our godchildren. Our mother and father, friends… I give myself, my body and soul and everything, into your hands. May your holy angel walk by my side, so that the evil enemy will not get hold of me. In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

For a few mornings now I have again taken the opportunity to begin my day with prayer. As I usually did for nearly fifteen years. I found Martin Luther’s morning prayer when I was about thirty, a mother of two little ones, searching for values whereby to live my life. I had gradually come to realize that I did not have any values of my own to use as a foundation for my life – so how should I bring up my children? Attending the church family circle, I had noticed that the devotion and the Christian values discussed there made me feel good. I was familiar with those values since childhood but had already forgotten them. Could I use them as the foundation of my life, even if I did not believe in God? I was wondering.

We had in our bookshelf a prayer book for homes that had been given to us at the baptism of our firstborn child. I read it through one night, and after that I realized I wanted to believe again like I had believed when I was little. What would I lose? I had already been searching for the purpose of life in all possible places. That evening I prayed: “Lord, I want to believe. Here is my life.” It was like reaching out my hand into darkness, waiting to see if someone would grasp it. Would someone answer?

It is sometimes possible to feel the presence of God very strongly. It is difficult to explain that feeling, let alone prove it: it is an indescribably good feeling of security and happiness. From that moment onward I again believed in God. From that moment onward I was able to trust that He is leading me. I thought then that I had become a believer, now I think that my time of visitation had begun. Five years later I finally found God’s kingdom. Passing through the narrow gate of repentance, I became a child of God again.

During that time of visitation I already had the habit of praying every morning Martin Luther’s morning prayer, which was in our prayer book for homes: ”I give myself, my body and soul and everything, into your hands…” For a mother with small children that moment before the face of God was often the sweetest moment of the morning, a moment that gave me strength. A wonderful moment: I was able to come before the face of God and be confident that He would hear me!

A few days ago, however, I realized I had forgotten that moment with the morning prayer. Believing people naturally turn to God whenever they need to, often almost without realizing it: Thank you, Father! Help me, Father! Sometimes the prayer is no more than a sigh toward Him. We have different choices to make daily, both bigger and smaller, and faced with those choices, we also turn to the Heavenly Father: Father, what is your will? So I would not go astray. And when someone comes to ask me about my faith, I say a quick silent prayer: Lord, give me the right words!

Every time when I begin to write a blog post, I feel myself small and lacking. If God does not give words, I cannot produce text. Am I even good enough to ask for words? Father, I cannot do this on my own: Give me words if that is your will.

For the past year, I have often published my texts with a trembling heart. It has not been quite easy to confess my faith and to share publicly my thoughts and my life. Although I have liked this assignment, it has consumed my mental resources. Yet, it has been my experience that at the time of publication and soon after, when fear has been creeping to grasp hold of my ankles and wrists and even my thoughts, I have suddenly felt a strong sense of security, a powerful joy of God’s presence. People have later written or told me that they have been praying on my behalf. Many have written feedback, wishing God’s blessings for our whole family. I have been reading those messages speechless with gratitude during my workday, often weary in my own trials. Escorting angels have been carrying me. God has been carrying me. My prayers have been heard.

– Good morning, my husband’s voice right next to me brings me back to the present. – It’s eight o’clock.
– Good morning. It was nice to wake up in good time and see the day beginning to break, I answer.
– Today is the first Advent Sunday, I continue to say to my daughter.
– Is it? Can I open the first flap on the Christmas calendar?
– Well no, not until the first day of December. But we will light the first Advent candle today. And we will sing Hosanna at church.  

I get up. The living room is dark. But I can see something white on the roof tops.

– We have got some snow during the night! I exclaim to those still in the bedroom. – To celebrate the Advent.  

To celebrate the Advent I also began a social media fast a couple of days previously. I am not checking the WhatsApp groups, though they have been important to me and have brought much joy to my life, supporting me in my faith. But all those stimuli have also made my life restless. I have felt a need to slow down.

On the first morning of my social media fast I did not begin my day by taking my phone, as I had usually done for the past several months. I remembered again the morning prayer. The security, the sweetness, the miraculous feeling of holiness: I, the small particle of dust, can begin my day before the face of 
Almighty God!

Text: Maarit Murtomaa
Translation: Sirkka-Liisa Leinonen

You will find the original Finnish blog post here.

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