Day 1: Psalm 16
Day 2: Psalm 17
Day 3: Psalm 18
Day 4: Psalm 19
Day 5: Psalm 20
Last week my printer died. I called my IT person after I had made a few failed amateur attempts to fix it. He quickly assessed that it was not a computer problem, but a printer problem. He told me to unplug my printer and plug it in again. Immediately she started purring like a kitten. We joked together about how we are paying him big bucks to tell me to turn my machine off and on. I asked him why it does this. He said – “Every once in a while it loses its connection and needs to get unplugged and re-plugged in to restore it.”
Prayer is connecting with God. Prayer is meant to be a two-way relationship. One of the reasons we often find prayer meetings boring, is because we are doing all the talking. We have reduced prayer to more of a help desk approach – where we dial God up when we are in a crisis. Have you ever received a prayer update from someone when everything is going amazing? I sure have never sent one.
Our needs are a great place to start and God knows that – but His desire is that we would move from a need-based relationship to one of mutuality. In John 15 when Jesus talks about abiding, He does not just say, “You abide in me.” He goes on to say “and I abide in you.”
The beauty of my little printer situation is there was nothing majorly wrong with my printer, but it just needed a fresh connection. Many times in our walk with God, that is the case. Because of the busyness of life and our tendency to stress out about stuff, our wires get clogged up with anxieties, and we just need to unplug and plug in again.
Our readings for this week are Psalm 16-20.
How about we try to engage in them in a bit of a different way.
Step 1 - Read through them until you sense a connection with God - something jumps out at you. For some of you, you might not get past the first verse; others of you might end up reading through four Psalms. Just stay at it until you sense the text catching your attention.
Step 2 – When that happens stop reading. Don’t worry about finishing the rest of the readings. I realize that might kill some of us. But the goal of reading and praying is to connect with God. Go back and linger on the verse that caught your attention? Follow the meanderings of your heart – reading other bits around it, questions that come, etc. Remember you are engaging with the God of the universe as you read. These are his love letters to you.
Step 3 – Now take a moment and ask Him - “What is it you are seeking to reveal to me about yourself?” Listen quietly – and then write down the first thing that comes to your mind. Remember God has said if you ask for a piece of bread, He won’t give you a stone. Make a note of what you hear.
Step 4 – Ask the Spirit of God to help you get in touch with your own heart as you prepare a response. Either write it out, or talk it out. Even talking aloud is great. Try to dialogue. He has just reached out to you – how will you respond?
Step 5 – As you reflect on the connection you have just had with God today – is there an image or a picture that comes to mind that you could google image – and put it on your phone – so throughout the day you can stay connected with God?
Let me give you an example.
This morning in my reading, I was reading Psalm 81. (Sorry it’s not on the list we were to read – but at least I’m reading my Bible!) Anyways when I got to vs. 10, I stopped – I sensed God talking to me. “I am the Lord your God who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.” I lingered there and spent a bit of time looking at other verses related to that – and then the image that came to me was baby birds with their mouths wide open ready for a feed. I sensed God saying to me, “I long for you to be this hungry for me – make more room – expand that mouth of yours – so I can fill it.” The passage goes on to talk about Him satisfying me with the finest. He wants more for me. He wants the best for me. This was David’s experience with God as he notes in Psalm 16:5 – God had become his sole feeding – his portion and cup.
Later on when having coffee with a friend, that image came up in conversation. I shared it.
Yesterday while sitting on my deck – four cardinals came and swarmed around me. It is not uncommon to see one or two but four? I felt like God was again connecting with me. I’m seeking to grow in this whole thing of staying in a 24/7 abiding connection with my Lord. God’s connection with us often builds on other things He’s said or done. His desire is to be in constant connection with us. Not talking all the time, but growing in mutual awareness.
“Lord Jesus, as we do this little exercise, open wide our mouths so that you can fill them. Open us wide with expectation to connect with you in new ways so that we can abide with you 24/7.”