Many people are familiar with the song “Day by Day” because it was part of the popular musical “Godspell” that opened in 1971. However, the song is actually an old hymn written by Richard of Chichester.
The song is about prayer—“Day by day, day by day, O, dear Lord, three things I pray: to see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, follow thee more nearly, day by day.”
The song gives us a pretty good biblical outline for our prayers. First, it says that we should pray to see the Lord more clearly. With all of the confusion in our culture today about moral issues, it certainly is a good thing to pray that we see God for who he really is. The devil continually tries to distort our view of God. When he succeeds, it leads people into wicked thoughts and actions.
Therefore, we need to pray for a clear picture of who God is. Paul the apostle offers such a prayer in Ephesians 1:17-18a—“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened…” May we also pray for eyes that can see God better.
The second prayer point in the song is that we love God more dearly. Jesus says that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37). Surely it would be quite appropriate to pray that we can love him better than we ever have before. And remember, true love is not just a feeling we have in our hearts. It is much more than that! Love is an action verb. We prove our love for God with our words and deeds.
The third and final prayer point in the song is that we may follow the Lord more nearly. What is it that proves our love for God? It’s our obedience. Jesus says, “If you love me, keep my commands.” (John 14:15). We should pray to better understand the commands given in Scripture so that we may show our love for God by obeying him. Ephesians 5:10 urges us, “And find out what pleases the Lord.” Let’s constantly strive to find out what the Lord wants us to do, and diligently prove our love with our obedience.
This is a pretty good outline for our daily prayers. If you know the song, it makes it even easier to remember the outline. Let’s make it a regular practice to pray to see God more clearly, love him more dearly and follow him more nearly—day by day.