Pondering Prayers: There is a Season

By: Steve Negley

Posted: November 1, 2018

Category: Daily Devotional

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

What gain have the workers from their toil? I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil. I know that whatever God does endures forever;
Ecclesiastes 3:1-14a

Most of us know this passage from Ecclesiastes, and we may have reflected on it in different seasons in our lives. It gives us a sense of purpose in the midst of a sometimes-mysterious journey. Being a person who has completed both childhood and my young adult years, I sometimes wonder where my focus should be in my current phase of life. (I think the answer must partially include “eating and drinking and taking pleasure in my toil.”)

In the Worshipbook (jointly published in the early 1970’s by The Cumberland Presbyterian Church, The PCUS, and The United Presbyterian Church), we find this prayer “For Those in Middle Years” The words of that prayer may be meant for me (and maybe you too.)


Eternal God, you have led us through our days and years, made wisdom ripe and faith mature. Show men and women your purpose for them, so that, when youth is spent, they may not find life empty or labor stale, but may devote themselves to dear loves and worthy tasks, with undiminished strength; for the sake of Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.