My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast, and my mouth praises you with joyful lips when I think of you on my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night.
Most of us spend quite a lot of our lives lying down, hopefully seven to eight hours of every night. That makes lying down an opportune posture for prayer. I think I have done some of my best praying between the hours of two and three in the morning lying down in bed. There are grandchildren to pray for, a nation to pray for, and my friend on chemotherapy. And, of course, there are always blessings to count! The quiet and solitude of the night provides a wondrous house of prayer.
It is significant that in the Bible the posture of lying down is symbolic of knowing that one is cared for by God. The Lord is our Good Shepherd so that His sheep can say, “He makes me lie down in green pastures” (Psalm 23:2). “The strange thing about sheep is that because of their very make-up, it is impossible for them to be made to lie down unless four requirements are met… a definite sense of freedom from fear, tension, aggravations and hunger… And the same is true of people.” (Phillip Keller, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23)
Lying down is expressive body language for peaceful rest. David the shepherd-psalmist affirmed: “I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O LORD, make me lie down in safety” (Psalm 4:8). In today’s passage David tells how he likes to talk with God and listen for God as he lies on his bed at night. The ancient Israelites ate their Passover meal, not sitting or standing, but lying down as an expression of God delivering them from bondage into rest.
Just as we can stand and pray to express our reverential awe of God, and we can kneel and pray to express our humble surrender, so we can lie down and pray to bodily express our restful reliance on God’s care.
Lie down to express the rest you have in God as He watches over and cares for you. Take a few moments to fully relax in God’s presence. Reflect on what it feels like just to rest and let go the burdens of the day.
Talk to God, ending with The Lord’s Prayer.
Tonight as you lie on your bed, take a few moments to rest in God and entrust yourself to the Shepherd’s care.
“Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. Then the LORD called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ and he said, ‘Here I am!’”
1 Samuel 3: 3b-4