“How long, Lord…How long will you hide your face from me?” Sometimes simple prayers are the best, the most honest, the most desperate for God. In recent weeks, with news stories, social media, and most unsettling events, I find myself quieted before God and crying out with simple prayers. What is your simple prayer today? “Though we do not see You sometimes, cause us to trust in your unfailing love and salvation.”
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits.”Christian leaders are often tempted to focus completely on the future. We need to get somewhere. The pressure is, “where are we headed”. Yet, the scriptures often instruct us to remember, to not forget, where we’ve been and what God has done in the past. When we are not praising God, is it possible we are forgetting something? -Bless the Lord, O my soul, and help me not to forget all your blessing O God.
“One of them, seeing he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He kneeled at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him.” Christians often like to talk about 10% for tithing, but unfortunately it is often the percent of us “giving thanks”. What if more Christians gave loud thanks? How would the world change? If you are honest, would you be in the group of nine enjoying your answered prayer, or the one who kneels before Jesus feet? – Lord Jesus, healer and compassionate one, I bow before you to simply say, “Thank you.”
“When I look at the heavens, the work of your fingers…” Have you seen the new pictures of Pluto? Have you seen the pictures of stars and galaxies? Even before we could see any of that the Psalmist stood in awe of the God who created the heavens. How can we as human matter at all in the vastness of creation? Are we not just specks of dust on the shoulder of the cosmos? And yet, the Psalm does not end here. Like the Psalmist, help us to see beyond creation, to your plans and purposes for our lives. Amen.
“They make a pit, digging it out, and fall into a hole that they have made…” The scriptures imply that a great deal of sin and evil has a built in judgment and punishment. Evil people end up falling into the holes that they have made. If this is true, why do we worry so much about revenge, making sure others pay for their sin and mistakes? Lord, give me faith to believe that I don’t have to worry about getting even or making sure others are punished. Free me instead, to be part of your salvation for the world.
“Turn, O Lord, save my life…for in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who can give you praise?” “I can’t praise you if I’m dead,” is an interesting argument in prayer. It assumes that in life, the one praying is in fact, bringing praise to God. Does my life here on earth bring praise to God? How is God honored and lifted up by my living? May my life O Lord, be a living praise!
“I will both lie down and sleep in peace…” There is a confidence, a trust, a gladness that comes from the Psalmists relationship with God that transcends what others are doing and saying knowing God allows him to sleep at night. Do you sleep well? Is something particular keeping you awake at night? Father, there is noise, there is threat, there is injustice, there is wickedness; all that upsets me in body, heart, and soul. Help me to trust you fully and know the peace of rest in Christ and his Spirit. Amen.
“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” Lately I have noticed that many testimonies are very general; “God is good,” “He’s been so good to me,” and “I am so blessed.” I wonder if we need to pause and reflect a little deeper and be prepared to give thanks with a “whole heart” with a willingness to tell “all of God’s wonderful deeds.” What is your “telling” today? Help us to recognize your hand in our lives O Father, and give voice with great thanksgiving. Amen.
“Though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do your duty, yet I would rather appeal to you on the basis of love.” Duty or love? Perhaps there are things we should just do, whether we feel like it or not; yet, when does our faith wane when a heart of love is not the engine that drives our actions? What area of your life might need more love than duty these days? Help me Holy Spirit, to gain the heart of Jesus Christ in all things that I might act on the basis of love. Amen.
“Everyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ, but goes beyond it, does not have God; whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” In a world of “tolerance” and “diversity,” God’s word still challenges and warns us. What does it mean to abide in Christ’s teaching? What does it mean to “go beyond it?” Why is this scripture still important for us to hear and apply? Father, it is always easy for us to make faith comfortable and agreeable to our personal desires and whims. Keep us focused on Your truth that endures.