This past week’s message (ICYMI, it's here ) talked about the fact that we all battle addiction in some shape or form – patterns of behavior, speech and thought that are compulsive, repetitive, instinctive, controlling – which have a significant impact on our life and relationships.
Part of acknowledging that we are not “OK” is recognizing that this is present in all our lives, in some shape or form.
Psalm 32, while not written specifically to address addiction, is a beautiful teaching/prayer to help us deal with it. It’s a prayer about:
coming out of the dark with a secret –to acknowledge its power over us
The Psalm is part teaching (vs 1-2, 10-11), part prayer to God (v.3-7), and part listening to God’s response (8-9).
This daily reading guide will lead you to read through Psalm 32 every day. The goal is not primarily information (you’ll get that after one reading), but encounter (to meet God) and transformation (to be changed by Him). You’ll be surprised what new things come to light, or how it meets you differently each day, as you chew on this one section of scripture.
Day 1: Read Psalm 32, slowly. What words or phrases jump out at you? Ask God (gulp!) if there is any pattern of behavior, speech or thought that you are reluctant to admit might be a habit. Write down anything that comes to mind, even if you’re not sure it’s a pattern. Ask him to make it clear to you. Then ask him what he wants you to do about it. Finish by spending 2 minutes in silence, being aware of God’s love and presence with you.
Day 2: Read Psalm 32, slowly. Look for a word or phrase or verse that really grabs you. Ask God if there are any sins you need to confess. Write them out or speak them out, asking for His forgiveness. Feel him lifting the burden of those things off you, as He gives you his grace and forgiveness.
Day 3: Read Psalm 32, slowly. As you read the Psalmist’s experience of keeping a secret, and what that did to him, imagine what it is like to live with a secret – b/c of fear, shame or denial; feel the weight of having to carry it around with you. Ask God to forgive you for being judgmental, critical or uncaring towards those battling addictions (or any mental health struggle), particularly those who are close to you. Ask Him to give you His compassion, and an opportunity to show his grace to someone.
Day 4: Read Psalm 32, slowly. Focus in particular on verse 7. In what area of your life do you feel you need protection from temptation, to be “hid” from shame or accusation, or deliverance from God? Write out a prayer to God asking for any/all of these things. Who else in your life needs the same thing? Offer up a prayer for them as well.
Day 5: Sit quietly for 2 minutes. Turn down the noise in your head. Ask God to meet you in this time, to speak to you. Read Psalm 32, slowly. Ask God if there is anything in particular he wants to say to you through these words. Write down whatever he says to you. And Write a prayer of response back to him. Think about who else in your life might be encouraged by what God has said to you, or any of the verses in Psalm 32 in particular. Consider writing a text or message or leaving a voicemail to someone with these words.