Evening prayer, 9/12/16

No earth-shaking revelations tonight, and that alone is a helpful reminder for myself.

More often than not, this daily liturgy thing is about finding comfort in the basics. It’s like a broken-in shoe, well worn and ready to help you go where you need to go. You’re not going to run a marathon every day. Most days you just need to go to work, or go to the grocery store, or just go outside to pick up the mail.

Praying about a passage from Proverbs tonight in conjunction with the Lord’s Prayer:

“Ponder the path of your feet, then all your ways will be sure.” –Prov. 4:26

“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” –Mt 6:13

I cherish the small, basic connections between two passages of Scripture such as this one. For me, there’s a bit of a duality between the two clauses of the Matthew passage: one is a prayer for our action; the other is a prayer for God’s action. Deliverance? That’s God’s domain. But “lead us not into temptation?” That leaves the door open a bit… after all, the Lord might not be leading us there, but we are still free to walk off the path and go there anyway. We have the power to disregard our guide and trailblaze instead (maybe trailblaze to the point where we realize the fix we’re in, and all that’s left to do is call out for deliverance).

And so tonight I found that this Proverbs passage helps color that first clause in the Lord’s Prayer passage. To ponder the path of my feet (literally, “to make level” that path) requires me to do something. And it is part and parcel with the prayer, “Lead us not into temptation.” The Lord leads us, but we also need the wisdom to heed His lead. We ask the Lord for help with this pondering. It’s a daily ascertaining of, where am I pointed? What direction am I heading? Have I been going where the Lord is leading me? The one who ponders the path of his/her feet is the one who is more willingly led away from temptation, by God’s grace and with God’s help.

“To ponder is not to wander.” A small connection, yes, but one I have found immensely helpful. And hey, it even rhymes.

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