Simple Prayer

In my devotional reading, I stumbled upon a great verse in Psalms.  It is a simple prayer that David prayed in the midst of his declaration.  Psalm 68 is a psalm of praise to God.  It declares God’s provision of deliverance and victory.  It is an offering of worship for an all-powerful God who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we could ask or even imagine. 

As David recounts God’s power and justice, he prays, “Summon your might, O God. Display your power, O God, as you have in the past..”  (Psalm 68:28 NLT)

I like that wording, “summons your might”.  A summons is a calling by an authority to show something.  The Psalmist prays, “God You have the authority to summons, show us your power.”  As I read that portion of Psalm 68 I couldn’t help but think about how powerful a simple prayer can be.  “Summons your power, the power by which you have worked for us.”  David was praying, “Lord, show us your power, the power, you have worked so many times before.”

This ought to be the cry of our heart.  A cry for God to reveal Himself in the power of the early church.  The power that is revealed in the words of the Holy Scriptures.  My prayer is as David’s, “O God, we need your power.  You have worked it before, work it again.”

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Is This My Fate?

This morning, I was reading, once again, in the book of Psalms. If you know me, this is my go-to book. I write often from the Psalms. I have preached over a hundred times from the Psalms. It is a book that is raw, honest, yet hopeful. In so many of the Psalms I have seen myself and the words have spoken to me at the very moment I needed them the most. There are other times that I have been talking to someone and they ask questions just like the Psalmist did. I am a firm believer that it is okay to ask God questions. He knows what is in our hearts anyway.

As I was reading this morning, Psalm 77 really spoke to my heart. I thought of the many people who have been walking through challenging seasons and some who are even on the brink of giving up. The Psalmist brings hope to us when we face these situations.

You don’t let me sleep.
    I am too distressed even to pray!
I think of the good old days,
    long since ended,
when my nights were filled with joyful songs.
    I search my soul and ponder the difference now.
Has the Lord rejected me forever?
    Will he never again be kind to me?
Is his unfailing love gone forever?
    Have his promises permanently failed?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
    Has he slammed the door on his compassion? Interlude

10 And I said, “This is my fate;
    the Most High has turned his hand against me.” (Psalm 77:4-10 NLT)

The writer is looking back on the good days and how they appear to be a distant in the rear-view mirror. He is writing from a place of feeling forgotten, unloved, rejected. The wording of this Psalm reveals that they perceive everything that is happening is done with a harshness. He uses words like “permanent”, or phrases like “slammed the door”. You can sense the emotion of this whole passage, especially when the writer resigns to the place that we all get at one time or another. This must be my fate in life.

Have you ever felt that way? Things are always going wrong and nothing turns out right. “It must be my fate in life!” Many have even taken it a step further; “God has turned His back on me.” But nothing could be farther from the truth. Certainly, God has not turned His back on you, nor is it your fate to live a life in the mullygrubs. God has more for you than the current season you find yourself in. This is why the next part of the passage is so powerful.

In the midst of asking questions and feeling forsaken, the Psalmist stops to reconsider.

11 But then I recall all you have done, O Lord;
    I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.
12 They are constantly in my thoughts.
    I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works. (Psalm 77:11-12 NLT)

His mind shifts from thinking of being forgotten to remembering how God had done wonderful things in the past. The Psalmist shifts his thinking from the present situation to seeing what God did before. Now, the writer’s thoughts are consumed by the mighty works of God. He cannot stop thinking of them.

This is important for our lives. Remembering what God did before gives you faith to get through your situation and to see a breakthrough in your future. God’s blessings in the past guarantee that He will see you through to another blessing in the future. You just have to hang on and keep going until you see Him move.

Do not allow your thoughts to be consumed with the present crisis or situation. But let God’s great works be constantly on your mind. Consume your thoughts with the goodness of God and His great provision.

Grab a copy of my latest book, Worry Free. WORRY LESS.

Giving God Thanks

As I started the day, I received a text from a friend. I must say, I am terrible at reading texts right away, so I didn’t read my friend’s text for a while. I’m not sure why I am always slow to respond to texting. I guess it is a flaw I have. Perhaps, I don’t like the pressure of having to respond right away. Having to think of things to say. I like to process things and have a well-ordered reply. Therefore, I just don’t read them quickly. As a side note: I apologize if you have texted me and I haven’t responded quickly. I am working on this problem of mine, so please forgive me. I am not even sure why I divulged all of this to you, my dear reader, but I guess I just needed to clear the air.

Back to the story: As I started the day, I received a text from a friend. It was a pretty simple text. Good morning! Read Psalm 107. They shared a few more words. End of text. I replied with a simple text as well.

I love Psalm 107. I have read it hundreds of times. But per my friend’s request, I read Psalm 107 again. Wow! It spoke to me like never before. The Psalmist begins the chapter with, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.” Now, there is a whole message there.

When is the last time you stopped just to thank the Lord for His goodness to you? When have you recounted all the ways that God has blessed you?

I know for me, I often take for granted all the good things God has done for me. I think of God’s goodness when He saved me and set me free from my life of sin. I think of that moment, when I was 19, on July 27, 1991, when God arrested my heart and I surrendered my life to Jesus. I have never been the same. As time wears on, I have to guard my heart and remind myself never to forget what He saved me from.

As you read through Psalm 107, you find the many things that God had done for the people of Israel. Over and over, we see that they were in a predicament, they called out to God, “Lord, help!” and he delivered them. Throughout this Psalm, we see different situations that God responds and saves them from their distress.

There are a couple phrases that are repeated in Psalm 107.

“Lord, help! they cried in their trouble”

“and He saved them from their distress.”

“Let them praise the Lord for His great love and for the wonderful things He has done for them.”

There is a pretty simple process in this great chapter:

Cry out for help.

Receive help from the Lord,

Praise Him for what He has done.

My friend, this should be a mark in our life. We should never hesitate to call on God in the midst of your troubles. When He helps you and brings a breakthrough, you should never hesitate to praise Him for what He has done. We should continually give thanks for the good things God has done for us. There is one characteristic of the writers of the Psalms. No matter what they faced, they still understood that they must praise and worship the Lord.

Hard times may come. Life throws us a curveball. Things happen that we cannot control. But what we can control is our praise. Make it a habit to praise Him in the good times and the bad. Praise Him in the morning and in the evening. Praise the Lord at all times! It will make you feel better.

Grab a copy of my latest book, Worry Free. WORRY LESS.