Tag Archives: Prayer

psalm 28

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Have I ever told you how much I love the psalms? How I adore David’s heart and his unabated laying-down of all of his hardships and delight in the Lord?

Often, in my prayers, I am nervous about telling God that He needs to listen to me – that when I cry for help, I need Him to answer me. Making demands of God seems to be risky business to me – and I’m not talking about the Tom Cruise kind.

Yet, I continue to read and read and read David’s pleas and prayers to the Lord. And the more I read them, the more I see that God is 100% okay with me telling Him exactly how I feel. He loves me so greatly – so scandalously – that He actually wants to work through my hurts, hardships, tragedies, and triumphs.

My view of how God sees me continues to become so personal and so delight-filled, yet, at the same time, there is so much more that I don’t know or understand.

I can’t fully understand how the God that created all that we see and know, made man & woman and breathed into them His breath of life – that God wants me to bring my heart to Him and commune in His presence. That God hears my pleas for mercy. That God is my saving refuge.

That God will be my shepherd and carry me forever.

I just can’t wrap my mind around it.
And I’m totally okay with living in that mysterious unknown.

To you, O Lord, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me, lest, if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.
Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary.

Do not drag me off with the wicked, with the workers of evil, who speak peace with their neighbors while evil is in their hearts. Give to them according to their work and according to the evil of their deeds; give to them according to the work of their hands; render them their due reward.
Because they do not regard the works of the Lord or the works of his hands, he will tear them down and build them up no more.

Blessed be the Lord!
For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.

The Lord is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!
Be their shepherd and carry them forever.

 

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psalm 20

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May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion!
May he remember all your offerings and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices!
Selah
May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!
May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners!
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!
Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.
O Lord, save the king!
May he answer us when we call.

This psalm has taken me by surprise a little bit tonight.

I didn’t grow up thinking that the Lord would do the things that David is petitioning Him to do here. Did I think He could? Of course! I was a good Christian girl!

Did I think He would? No. Because I was really an undeserving sinner and how dare I ask bold and mighty things of a loving, merciful, and gracious God. Tisk tisk, Smith.

Thanks to some books that are currently ruining my life (just kidding. kinda.) and a reminder from my friend on her blog today, I can proclaim and ask bold, big things of and from my good, loving God. I can say things like, “May He grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!”

And not only can I say it, I can believe it.
And not only can I believe it, I can expect it.

Now, don’t roll your eyes all the way back in your brain at me. I’m not saying that if you speak it and believe it, it will happen. I’m not telling you to make a vision board or go all Secret with your dreams and desires.

But I am saying that God loves me, and loves you, and desires to give good things to His children.

Which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

– Jesus, Matthew 7:9, 11

I’m reading one of those books that’s ruining my life with a friend and we recently talked about having to let our dreams die so that God dreams can be birthed.

And it scared the crap out of us.

It’s hard to believe that we can boldly open our hands, lay our dreams/desires/lives down, and expect something better.

But we can. Because, “Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand.”

I’ll leave you with this thought from a recent sermon (that you should listen to after reading to the end…): “We have no right to come to God. Yet, because of Jesus, we are told to bang on the door and expect an answer.” We can declare all that David has declared here, because the Lord our God has answered His children from heaven by sending His Son Jesus. We get to shout for joy over your salvation.

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The Process of Maniupulation

Remember last week when I talked about using my high level of holiness to get the guy? Well, this week I’m going to talk about how I was pretty sure I could manipulate God with my prayers.

Ever heard the phrase, “blind love”? Yeah…we’ll blame it on that…

At one point in the past I was dating someone that I could have seen myself marrying at the time. Going in to the relationship I really wanted it to be different than the relationships I had been in previously. I desired for this go-round to be God-honoring, making Christ the center of our lives individually and collectively.

And I pretty much faked myself out for the majority of the relationship.

I recently looked through my journal from that time period and saw pages flooded with prayers that said things like, “Lord, please draw us both in to you,” and “Father, my desire is to honor You and You alone,” and also, “God if this ever becomes about anything other than You, I pray You end it.”

Shortly after this relationship ended (and when I say shortly, I mean the next day), I read Timothy Keller’s book “Counterfeit Gods.” Through reading this book I began to realize that I was trying to manipulate God with my prayers. Even though I was praying “Christian-y” prayers, my heart was saying something completely different. My desire wasn’t necessarily to honor God, it was just to be with this man. In my heart what I meant was, “Lord, I really like this guy, and You know that…so, just make it happen. We both love You, and this ‘season of dating’ is just for kicks. I know we’re both good to go with You.”

My deepest hearts desire during that season was just to get through and move on to the next stage with this guy. I thought that just because I was praying ‘good prayers’ about my relationship that it would work out my way. I didn’t really care what God’s way was at the time. I was saying/writing these prayers just to look good to God and to keep the guy. Did you catch the part earlier when I said the relationship ended? Yeah, wasn’t the best plan.

So what’s the point in this story? Don’t make prayer all about you. When Jesus teaches His disciples how to pray in Matthew chapter 6 (aka The Lord’s Prayer), He doesn’t tell them to fake God out and to pray with selfish motives. He tells them to recognize God’s holiness and praise Him for it, to seek God’s will, to pray for daily provision, to pray for forgiveness, to seek what God has for them, not what they have for God.

Now, do I believe we should go to the Father with our concerns, desires, etc.? Yes. But do I think I should continue in a pattern of trying to fake God out to get what I want? No.

My challenge for the week: be honest with yourself and your motives in your prayer life. Is prayer a way for God to shape you or for you to shape God?

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