Teach Us To Number Our Days
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12, RSV
I began the practice of regular nighttime prayers sometime around the age of 4 or 5. I still have precious memories of nights with my mother or my grandmother repeating the Lord’s Prayer, followed by “Now I lay me down to sleep,” and ending with “Lord keep us safe this night, secure from all our fears; may angels guard us through the night, till morning light appears.” As I grew older, the prayer time expanded to include my “to do” list for God. The list included all of the people and things to which I thought God needed to attend. For the most part, that practice stayed with me off and on through the years.
Then the focus of my prayer life changed in 2001 when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The day before my 55th birthday, I had surgery to remove the cancer and my worldview and my prayer time both changed dramatically. For the first time in my life, I came face to face with the reality that I have an expiration date. And for me, that realization was, in a way, an incredible blessing. The “cancer event” gave me a whole new appreciation for the gift of life. Since then, my morning prayers now begin with, “Thank you Lord for the gift of life and for another day.” I suppose I could say that having cancer not only helped me to “number my days,” but it has also, perhaps, moved me toward “a heart of wisdom.” In a way, I now value the precious gift of God in my life more than ever before.
A Prayer for Today
Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, You know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of Your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.