Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, August 5, 2015
As We Begin to Pray
My daughter, her good friend and I spent some time after dinner at the Chicago Botanic Garden. It’s a garden, and so much more! Also a living plant museum and research center, the Botanic Garden is almost 400 acres of stunning, landscaped areas, different smaller gardens, and greenhouses. Plus, this gorgeous place with its lagoons, woods and open areas offers a wonderful stopping point for migratory birds. All throughout the year, there are countless things going on at the garden.
Our family is blessed to have a family membership to this marvelous garden—my father-in-law has given us the membership for many years as a Christmas present. It’s one of our family’s favorite things to do on a weekend. Go to the garden.
As you might imagine, August at the Botanic Garden was busting out all over! Myriad different flowers and blossoms, in every shape, color and kind. So wonderful for us to amble through the various walkways, with one vista lovelier than the next.
And then, several hours later, to turn to my prayer website, dailyoffice.org. I have read this opening statement to Evening Prayer countless times: “The Lord Almighty grant us a peaceful night and a perfect end.” However, I was particularly struck by the stunning natural beauty we saw tonight at the Botanic Garden. And then, to cap it off with Evening Prayer? What a peaceful way to end an absolutely lovely evening.
I was curious about the formal definition of Evening Prayer, or Compline, as it is properly named. Here is a helpful definition. “The ancient office of Compline derives its name from a Latin word meaning ‘completion’ (completorium). It is above all a service of quietness and reflection before rest at the end of the day.” 
So, Lord. Here we are, at the end of the day. What a perfect ending for a lovely day. Thank You for the beauty of the earth, the wonder of Your creation. Thank You for Your magnificent growing things, as well as the creatures of the water, field and air You have made—like hummingbirds! (Which we saw tonight! My first hummingbird, ever, in real life!) Lord, I’d like to praise You for the infinite variety in Your creation. Help us to be excellent stewards of this stunning beauty and variety. In Jesus’ loving and creative name we pray, Amen.
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Visit the website http://dailyoffice.org/ to find out more about Morning and Evening Prayer!