Making an appointment to pray only recently occurred to me, though I’ve done something similar in my reading and traveling. For years, I have enjoyed reading books in their settings.
For example, when I visited Heidelberg, Germany, I read Mark Twain’s account of his 19th-century visit to that city in A Tramp Abroad. On a visit to California’s coast, I took a copy of Richard Henry Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast. Knowing I will soon be visiting South Dakota, I am planning to read Peter Leavell’s West to the Black Hills.
So, when I saw news of upcoming events in the night sky, I thought, why not make prayer appointments?
If you’re anything like me, you find yourself more prayerful and praise-filled in nature than at most other times. A beautiful sunrise inspires worship. A shaded forest path–gratitude. A blanket of stars draws you heavenward.
The same thing apparently happened to the Biblical writers. The sight of the Pleiades star cluster and the constellation Orion prompted a paean of praise from the prophet Amos (Amos 5:8). The night sky and a thunderstorm inspired the psalmist David (Psalm 19, Psalm 29).
So, why not cooperate with God and creation to invite more praise and prayer into your life? Schedule a few breathtaking moments of prayer:
1) Venus and Mars (September 11, 21)
This month, the planet Venus should be visible around dawn in the eastern sky. Mars may also be visible in the morning sky, especially on September 11, as the crescent moon wanes about 45 minutes before sunrise.
2) Lunar Eclipse (September 27-28)
Late in September, a harvest moon of orange or red will pass completely through Earth’s shadow (lunar eclipse), producing a bright red-orange color or “blood moon.”
3) Saturn (September)
For most or all of September, the planet Saturn may be visible in the south or southwestern sky in the evening (before 10 or 11 p.m., when it will drop from sight).
4) Jupiter, Mars and Venus (October)
Jupiter, Mars and Venus may be visible in the pre-dawn sky in October. Jupiter should appear low in the east around the middle of September and will rise through mid-October, when it will appear in conjunction with Mars. All three planets should appear in a cluster in late October.
Why not add some or all of these events to your schedule? Set an alarm in your smart phone or pen a reminder in your calendar. Plan ahead to read Psalm 8 or 19, Amos 5:8 or Jeremiah 31:35 as you spend time under the canopy of heaven.
Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! (Psalm 150:1, NIV)