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A Liturgy for Before Napping

by Chris Jameson on June 26, 2019

Some may perhaps be familiar with the term "liturgy" as the form or structure of the public worship of the church. This includes the common trappings of worship such as prayers, songs, recitation of Scripture, and even the sacraments. However, the term liturgy may be applied to both public and personal worship, as many of these practices (except the sacraments) may and should be adopted in one's own personal and private Christian growth.

You may even be familiar with some of the most popular tools associated with personal liturgy already, such as books like the Valley of Vision or Every Moment Holy. These books and others like them aid individuals in personal liturgy and devotion, to the end that they are reminded of their identity in Christ and reinvigorated in their convictions, passions, and practice as they go through even the most mundane activities of each day. These liturgies include prayer, poignant allusion to biblical truth, confession and petition, and worshipful cries of the heart to be experienced and applied in the midst of soccer practice, TV dinners, and car repairs. 

I have found that writing such liturgies can itself be a heartfelt act of worship. Below I've shared one such liturgy I've written for Before Napping in honor of our month-long focus on rest here at Grace and Peace. I've used systematic and biblical theology in tracing the idea of rest through Scripture, but you may also notice a connection to the Creation event where we may first recognize our opportunity to image God by resting as He did. I pray it serves you all as you endeavor to rest well as God desires (Gen 2:3; Mk 6:31; Ps 127:2).

 Oh Sovereign Creator,

Today I endeavor to conform myself to your image,
particularly by entering into rest as You have.
Until this moment I have striven and struggled,
I have wrestled and worked,
yet I have now met my own infirmity,
and have encountered the end of my endurance.

But you have said that you give to Your beloved the gift of sleep,
and I am especially exhausted.
You, Who formed the stars by your hand,
and measured the depths and the ocean,
You, Who set the boundaries of space and time,
and rule over both calamity and calm,
were pleased to rest as a pattern for me.

Yet I have believed that it is I who binds my fate together,
that it is my work, and not Yours, which establishes and sustains me.
My incessant efforts are evidence of my arrogance,
and I seek repentance through repose.

Remind me of my Savior,
Who trusted His Father to watch over Him while He slept,
Whose slumber was not stirred by wind and wave.
My Jesus knew of the task ahead of Him,
He knew well the weight of the sin burden He would carry,
He knew even of His duty to restore all of fallen Creation,
and yet He slept,
and so must I.

I surrender in sleep by faith in Your sovereignty. Amen.

Tags: prayer, sleep, devotional, poetry, liturgy, personal liturgy, theology of rest