“The more deeply we grow into the psalms and the more often we pray them as our own, the more simple and rich will our prayer become.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Sometimes there are moments when life consumes and your heart feels gagged in the ability to lift up any words in prayer. Sometimes the clouds of our life overshadow us and we can’t find the words to say to Him. At other times, we have plenty to say and are experiencing a rich and beautiful time with Him. No matter where you are in your prayer life, meditating on His word through the Psalms offers us a deep and divine place to experience Him.
His words of truth and goodness bring forth life. Here is a Psalm that has been on my heart lately. I wrote down some of the words and thoughts that came to me as I meditated on this Psalm.
I will exalt you, LORD, for you rescued me. You refused to let my enemies triumph over me.
I seek to be in a posture of worship and gratitude to the One who rescued. May the fullness of that rescue be felt deep as it resonates in and through my worship.
O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my health.
I acknowledge that in my worst moment of depravity and soul-marring sickness, He heard my cry; He redeemed and restored.
You brought me up from the grave, O LORD. You kept me from falling into the pit of death.
I can see the place of certain and eternal death that I was cascading fully into. I can see how He reached down and brought me up to a place of beauty and life for eternity.
Sing to the LORD, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name.
I have placed my hope and trust in Him–may my words and thoughts echo the awe of a now-rescued soul.
For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Where His holiness demanded separation, He provided a way that those who are His find His love and mercy…forever. His covenant of grace is fully extended to me. In a fallen and broken world, where sin roams freely, a sovereign Lord binds my redeemed heart to His. My sorrow experienced here on earth is comforted by the hope I have in the eternal place of joy to come.
Choose a psalm to read and pray daily, for a week or a month. Let the words draw you closer to Him. Let the words grow your understanding and knowledge of who He is.
“The delightful study of the Psalms has yielded me boundless profit and ever-growing pleasure; common gratitude constrains me to communicate to others a portion of the benefit, with the prayer that it may induce them to search further for themselves.”
― Charles Spurgeon, preface to The Treasury of David
Wife, mom, daughter, teacher, blogger, crafter, organizer - but most and best of all, I am a Christian. I am passionate about my family and my God. I am married to my best friend and am blessed with a one year old son who keeps me busy all the time staying at home with him. And I am glad to be in the service of our incredible and awesome God.
We all have our special people. I have them, you have them. Special friends make you feel good. Spending time with them feels comfortable. They “get” you. And they are such an incredible blessing. But that’s for another blog post.
Please don’t misunderstand me. It is a wonderful thing to have those good friends (see Proverbs 17:17 and 18:24). And they are definitely needed.
But what I need to hear more (and perhaps you do too!) is that we need to break out of our clique.
That’s right. You heard me.
Don’t try to talk us out of this. Yes, by seeking out our friends at church, we’re “ministering” to them. We are checking up on how they’re doing and talking about what we’ve been praying about for them. But…
Weren’t we meeting up with that girlfriend for lunch tomorrow? Didn’t we already have dinner plans later this week? Won’t we text this afternoon once the kids are down for their nap?
And by greeting only our friends, don’t we sometimes miss that visitor? We miss that lonely person, just getting up the guts to come over and talk to you–when BAM!–you have already launched into a lively, exclusive conversation with your friend.
Yes, we should definitely be greeting and hugging our friends, but I think that’s easy to do. What’s hard is going up to someone you don’t know. It’s hard to approach a little old lady or a shy teen or a single mom with a herd of kiddos. Maybe they’ve been to church before, or maybe this is the first time in a long time.
And we all know we should be doing more of it. But it’s easy to just say, “That’s not my talent,” or “I’m not so good at that.”
You know what fixes that?
Practice. Patience. A lot of prayer. You’re never going to be “good” at talking to new people until you talk to a new person. You won’t ever know how to introduce yourself until you try it out.
Sound goofy? It’s not. Especially when you are that new person. That visitor. That girl sitting in a pew wondering, “Was this really worth it? Should I really come back to church–to God?”
So here are some things that help me. Maybe they will help you too.
Pray about it
Ask God to grant you the courage to introduce yourself to someone new (maybe a visitor or maybe just someone who needs some encouragement). Ask Him to help you see with His eyes. To send you someone that you can minister to.
Before you go to a worship service, Bible class, or fellowship, think about what your goal is. You don’t have to climb Mount Everest at first (e.g. Today, while dealing with my own three kids, I plan to meet every visitor who came to church today. Um, maybe not!).
Instead, you might think that you will get to know one visitor really well and sit with them. Or if there’s not a visitor, think of someone who might like some encouragement, perhaps a widow or a single person. Perhaps someone who’s been through a recent tragedy or someone who’s just recommitted their life to the Lord.
I’m not always so good at thinking on my feet, especially while chasing after my own little man. Somehow, when I have already decided on meeting or encouraging that person, it’s easier to actually do it when I get there.
Be patient with yourself. You may have a colossal failure and call someone by an entirely wrong name. Or you might mistake them for a visitor when they’ve been attending for months (or years). That’s okay. It’s part of the learning curve. And it will make for a hysterically funny story at lunch (I know from experience!).
Be patient with those you reach out to. Sometimes, they’re painfully shy or sad or withdrawn. Sometimes it feels like you’re pulling teeth trying to get them to tell you anything about themselves. That’s okay too. You’ve done your part–and surprisingly, although you may have felt it didn’t go well, that person might go home and be really encouraged that someone took the time to talk with them.
You may not be super outgoing. Just pick one person to get to know. Focus on that one. Write her a card. Send her texts. Ask how you could pray for her.
Or you may be a social butterfly. Make it your goal to meet and greet visitors. Maybe you could sign up to be a lobby monitor or someone who helps guide people to Bible class. Or talk to your preacher and see if you can be in charge of sending cards to visitors.
Wherever you are personality-wise on that spectrum, don’t give up. Sometimes approaching those we don’t know as well isn’t just for their good. It’s also for ours. It makes us grow and helps us develop a Christ-like heart. It gives us an opportunity to place ourselves in someone else’s shoes.
So this Sunday, or whenever you meet together with others in service and worship to God, reach out. Break out of that clique. You might discover a new avenue of service. Or you just might have begun a friendship greater than you’d ever expected.
I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.
I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
Trying to carry this world on our own shoulders was NEVER God’s intention. What Jesus calls us to is hitting our knees i prayer. Just like He did! If you need knee pads, now is your time to grab them because the most important thing you can be doing is hitting your knees in prayer!
How often in Scripture do we see Christ running to God in prayer? Constantly!
So why do I sometimes leave this to my last resort? (Do you ever do this?) It’s truly ironic because I love to pray. I feel like I pray about everything and everyone, but sometimes leave myself out.
When someone tells me about an issue, I almost always ask if they’ve prayed about it or stop right there and pray for them. I love lifting others up in prayer because I know it’s something I can do any time, any place and any where. Prayer truly is one of the most precious and valuable things we can do for our family, friends and friends we haven’t met yet (aka everyone else in the world).
But much like taking care of myself when I’m sick, I don’t always immediately take my problems to God in prayer. Well, I go through waves….sometimes I have that constant prayer thing down and other times, I feel like I have a literal wall up in the front of my mind and I just can’t break through it to pray. That wall has been there lately.
When that happens, I feel stuck and lost. BUT there is something simple to do when I feel that wall come up and you can do it too:
Feeling blocked? Maybe it’s spiritual warfare and confusion is trying to take over. Whatever it is, God knows and he just wants us to share with Him that we need his help! Prayers don’t have to be long and wordy. They can be as simple as saying, “Help! I can’t even think to pray right now. I feel like I’m being blocked.”
Don’t have the words? Call out for help anyway, the Holy Spirit will bring your groanings to the Lord.
Overwhelmed emotionally? Ask for help against the emotional waves, He will calm that emotional storm even if He doesn’t calm the physical storm.
Don’t know how to engage lovingly in the “culture war” issues?Ask for wisdom on how to live out God’s word in a loving way and for the Holy Spirit to guide your words.
Struggling because a relationship has fallen apart? Ask for God to soften your heart as well as theirs and to bring about an opportunity for forgiveness and reconciliation.
Riddled with health concerns? Ask the healer of all to bring healing in whatever form He wills.
Overcome by the direction our country is heading? Ask for a revival of hearts and that you will stand up courageously to be a part of it.
When prayer isn’t working? Keep hitting your knees in prayer anyway! Don’t give up. Remember, God’s timing is different than ours AND we don’t always understand His will in our lives and how the struggles we are facing now, will bring Him glory.
Never give up!Keep hitting your knees in prayer! Trust that God is good and holy and omnipotent AND cares for you!
Jesus says whatever we pray in His name that will bring God glory will be given to us!
And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
– Jesus (John 14:13-14)
Lord, you know our hearts and know our hearts need constant molding to become more of how you want us to be. When we don’t have the words, remind us to just call on your name and never give up in trusting in your powerful ways!
Hitting your knees, standing tall with arms raised, or however you choose to pray, just keep praying.
Whatever you are going through, take it to the Lord. He will provide you with the answers. It may not be today or tomorrow or 5 years from know, but He will. He may not answer your prayer the way you have been pleading but you can trust He will provide the best answer. It may be a no, yes, or wait. One thing you can be guaranteed of is that whatever you ask in Jesus name will be given. Again, it may look differently than you anticipated but God knows best and does what is best for His children. He loves to give good gifts and answering prayers is one way He does that!
What prayer are you currently waiting on to be answered?
How can we pray for you today?
Since we are on the topic of praying, May 5 is the National Day of prayer.
We encourage you to stand together with your brothers and sisters in Christ and hold our nation and all the nations of the world up in prayer. If you can, gather together with others. Find out what events will be held in your city or put one together. We can never pray enough for our leaders.