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Eventide Prayer

And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.
-Genesis 24:63

Eventide is that twilight time, just after and perhaps including sundown.  Eventide also means nightfall or dusk.  It is the most dramatic time of day, only to be outdone by the sunrise in the morning.  Eventide is the most beautiful time of day to be outdoors.

Isaac was not enjoying the light show or the sun sinking away on the western horizon.  He did not see the sky  with the orange and yellow hues giving way to light blues, purples, and darker blues.  Isaac was looking down.  His mind was on something else.

He was meditating.  Perhaps this describes a form of prayer.  It might describe deep thought, as in mulling something over.  There is a kind of prayer where we think about something, but we are not just worrying nor are we trying to figure it out on our own.  In meditation, or deep thought prayer, we take our worries or our problems that we would like solved to God.

Meditation prayer is also prayer that focuses on who God is.  Yes, I want this and that.  Yes, I have needs to pray about.  But I choose to focus on, stare at, chew on, and mull over thoughts of God.  It is a very intentional setting of my thoughts on God.  When I do that, I get in alignment with God.

Isaac went out.  He got alone.  It was just him and nature, as far as we know.  There is something beneficial about getting away to pray.  If you do not have a place to go to, you can create one in your home or apartment.  

On earth, God instituted time.  We have day and night, seasons and years.  There are new days and new seasons.  Old days and old seasons come to an end.  When Isaac saw the camels coming, with Rebecca, at eventide, that signaled the end of his waiting to be married.  The season was coming to an end and a new season was about to dawn.

Everyone has a different waiting period for their promise to be fulfilled, but we all have the same God.  Each of us can take the time and find the space to mull over our unfulfilled promise before God.  We stand in our field and chew on that word, until it is digested, while focusing on God.

Many things in our lives are seasonal and cyclical.  The earth has seasons in time and so do nations and the church does too.  But individuals may be in different seasons.  Figurative sunsets and breaking of the dawn may happen at different times for different people.  We need to discern the times and seasons.

This activity, of going out and mulling things over, with God in view, is not a formula to make our word come to pass, but it is the way to keep our faith in God, in God's faithfulness, alive and strong, until the time of fulfillment comes.  We intentionally engage with our promises, destinies, or birthrights that we believe are ours; and with God.  We do it as a discipline, by faith.

Some quotes on meditation at eventide:

A garment that is double-dyed, dipped again and again will retain the colour a great while; so a truth which is the subject of meditation.-Philip Henry
"It will do us good to be often left alone, and sitting alone; and if we have the art of improving solitude, we shall find we are never less alone than when alone. Meditation and prayer ought to be both our business and our delight when we are alone; while we have a God, a Christ, and a heaven to acquaint ourselves with and to secure an interest in, we need not want matter either for meditation or prayer, which, if they go together, will materially befriend each other. Our walks in the fields are then truly pleasant, when in them we apply ourselves to meditation and prayer. We there have a free and open prospect of the heavens above us, and the earth around us, and the hosts and riches of both; by the view of which we should be led to the contemplation of the Maker and Owner of all." -Matthew Henry
What we all need above all things is to let the mind dwell on Divine things — to be able to sit down knowing we have so much clear time in which we shall not be disturbed, and during which we shall think directly under God's eye — to get quite rid of the feeling of getting through with something, so that without distraction the soul may take a deliberate survey of its own matters. And so shall often God's gifts appear on our horizon when we lift up our eyes...-M. Dods
There is a great difference between reverie and meditation. The one is aimless dreaming, the other, thought tending to an object. Prayer is the thought expressed. Meditation is the "nurse of prayer." Meditation stirs up the spiritual fire within. It brings us nearer to the Divine. It should be cultivated as a habit rather than be left to spasmodic impulses. -F. Hastings


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