Bless the Lord, O My Soul
Perhaps you know that observant Jews pray at least one hundred prayers every single day. Called berakah, these prayers offer continual thanks to God for his many blessings. There’s a blessing to say when you get dressed, before you eat, after you eat, when you survive danger or illness, when you hear thunder, when you see a rainbow, and even when you encounter a particularly beautiful person. I especially like the blessing you say when you wake up in the morning. It’s one of the first prayers a Jewish child is taught. Here’s how it goes:
I am grateful before you, living and eternal King for returning my soul to me with compassion. You are faithful beyond measure.
Imagine praying this simple prayer with intention every day for seventy, eighty, or even ninety years. Wouldn’t that shape the course of your life, helping you to be mindful of God, aware that he is the Keeper of your soul, the Creator who calls you to rise up and enjoy another day of life?
Perhaps you think praying all these prayers would be tiresome. But what if such prayers trained you to always be looking in the right direction, proclaiming God’s faithfulness throughout the day? What if they prevented you from acting as though everything depended on you and nothing depended on God? What if they made you realize you are never alone?
As Christians, we could benefit from adopting a similar practice. Our prayers don’t have to be long, but they do have to be intentional, peppered with praise and thanksgiving. This week, why not consider praying the Modeh Ani, the Hebrew name for the prayer above, before you even step one foot out of bed? As you pray, remember that one day you will awake to pray it with a resurrected body that will never be touched by illness or death.
(Image courtesy of stroinski at freeimages.com)