(Leader: Begin your gathering together by taking communion together, whether as a full meal together or some version of the bread and the cup before or after your meal. If you don’t already have a Communion liturgy, take a moment to be still and have people reflect with gratitude on the prompt: Where did God go above-and-beyond today or this week? After some time in silence, have a few people share their prayers of gratitude to God.)
Review The Last Practice
- How has Morning Prayer through the Lord’s Prayer been going for you? How about the Midday Prayer for the Lost?
- For those going to the Prayer Hubs, which one are you going to and what has that experience been like?
- Does anyone have any creative ideas or suggestions that helped them remember to pray in the morning or at midday?
Read This Overview Aloud Together
The goal of this three-part Daily Prayer Rhythm is for each of us to build the habit of communing with God in the normal parts of our lives, so that we can grow in intimacy with him and participate in his coming Kingdom in and around us. So, as we continue building this ancient Practice into our own lives, the next layer to add is evening prayer. For our Evening Prayer Rhythm, we will set aside a few minutes at the end of each day and pray prayers of gratitude.
The evening is a time for resting and presence. In the evening, we are tired from the events of the day, and the greatest gift we can offer is our undivided presence to other tired people – but we often litter our homes, dinner tables, and relationships with the clutter we carry home from the day. In order to be present to one another at the close of the day, we must first become present to God at the close of the day.
Do This Practice Tonight
Tonight, we want to practice this rhythm together in a way that will help give tangible ideas of how to pray prayers of gratitude each evening.
During the Jewish Passover, Israel would sing a song of gratitude for God’s deliverance in the Exodus called Dayenu. Traditionally, Dayenu means, “it would have been enough.” A more modern translation might sound like, “Thank you God for overdoing it.” Dayenu serves as a historic prompt for giving thanks to God at the close of the day. So, for our Evening Prayer Rhythm, we are going to use this template to reflect on our days with gratitude.
Review the Day. As we begin, let’s take some time to silently review the events of our day: the people, tasks, messages, meals, demands, and surprises. As you make your way back through the day from morning to evening, silently give thanks to God for anything and everything you have to be grateful for.
Pray Gratitude. Now, let’s move to a time of praying these prayers out loud, in the format of the Dayenu prayer. It might sounds something like,
“God, lunch today would’ve been enough, but you provided me with the resources to choose the type of food I wanted to eat.”
“God, a normal day at work would’ve been enough, but you gave me enjoyable co-workers to have fun moments today.”
“God, it would have been enough to just get through the day, but you really helped the kids get along and love each other well today.”
Let’s pray one at a time, so we can build gratitude in the room and share in how good God was to us today.
Close in Gratitude. (Leader: When you’re ready, close the prayer thanking God for what he’s done, for what he’s doing, and for how he will continue to be good to us.)
Read The Practice for the Week Ahead
The Practice for the week ahead is the exact same as it was tonight: take a few minutes each evening to reflect on your day and to pray prayers of gratitude to God. When we end the day in gratitude, we remember the fingerprints of God all across the hours of the day. We enter into the evening present and restful to others in need of restful presence.
End in Prayer
(Leader: Close your time together in prayer, asking that God would help us train to be the kinds of people who order our lives by rebellious fidelity to Jesus and that we would see his Kingdom break into our lives, our city, and our world.)