Kindle and Ember

· Prayer,Prayer PathWay,Routines,Rituals

I know many people choose a theme word for the year. I don't usually do that. But this year I chose two!

I love the word KINDLE - for obvious reasons.

Kindle: to start or feed a fire or to inspire emotion or feeling.

Kindling: small twigs used for starting a fire.

Kindle is a verb.

Kindling is a noun.

But then I love the word EMBER - for less obvious reasons.

Ember: a glowing coal in a dying fire.

It's a noun.

But why isn't there a verb form?

Why isn't there an EMBERING?

If to kindle a fire is to start and feed a fire why couldn't embering be the preparing of the fire for the night?

There's an old word for that - one we'd know if we lived in times where the rhythm of life involved the tending of fire.


Smooring: it's the tamping down and piling up of the fire's last embers so that they can be left safely for the night - with just enough to use for the morning's fire. This is something people of bygone times knew as an essential part of life.

This year I'm practicing KINDLING and EMBERING - both as verbs.

Bear with me now!

KINDLING is my morning practice of pulling together my needed fuel and strengthening my soul for the day ahead: my Daily Light, my Bible, my Prayer PathWay, my prayer liturgy, my journal, various helpful books, perhaps a hymn - and a candle. Depending on the schedule of the morning, I adjust the kindling.

After my prayer time is done, I leave a specific page open in a place I pass often throughout the day - to call, nudge, nag me to prayer. To remind me that my work is prayer and I can pray as I work (ora et labora). Steady fuel to get me through the day. Gentle kindling - to see me through the day.

EMBERING is my evening practice of breathing in some comforting words: my Daily Light, a Psalm, and a doxology or a benediction from the Bible. Just enough to fuel my closing prayers. One of my very favorite emberings is to listen to John 17. To hear Jesus speaking to His Father - about me. Gathering up the embers of the day, to see me through the night. Lord willing, to be awaked to kindle afresh in the morning.

From Kindling to Embering: just enough fuel.

"By morning and evening prayer

we give glory to him who is

the Alpha and the Omega ,

the first and the last;

with him we must begin and end the day,

begin and end the night,

who is the beginning and the end,

the first cause, and the last end."

~ Matthew Henry - 1712

(from Method for Prayer - p. 207)

O LORD, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you.

~ Psalm 88:13 - ESV

"In peace I will both lie down and sleep;

for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety."

~ Psalm 4:8 - ESV

"I lay down and slept;

I woke again, for the LORD sustained me."

~ Psalm 3:5 - ESV

Yours is the day, yours also the night.

~ Psalm 74:16 - ESV

"May these words of mine,

which I have prayed before the LORD,

be near to the LORD our God day and night,

that he may uphold the cause of his servant..."

~ 1 Kings 8:59 - ESV

"By day the LORD commands His steadfast love,

and at night His song is with me,

a prayer to the God of my life."

~ Psalm 42:8 - ESV

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