Wednesday, November 19th, 2014
Read Psalm 109:1-4
The psalmist wrote, “But I am a man of prayer.”
- Psalm 109:4 (NIV)
When I first stumbled upon this passage it was almost shocking to me. At the time I was very concerned about a friend’s situation. I was praying earnestly for my friend and to be honest, I found myself wondering just how effective prayer really was in situations like my friend’s. And then I read the psalmist’s words.
What makes today’s quoted verse so remarkable are the verses that precede it. Though David did not write all the psalms, he was likely the writer of this one. In the first few verses of this psalm he writes some awful and even scary things. He says wicked and deceitful men have told lies about him. They have surrounded him with words of hatred. They have fought against him without cause. In return for his friendship they have accused him. Then he writes, “But I am a man of prayer.”
David could have fought against these men. He was a mighty warrior. He could have judged them because he was the king. But what did he choose to do instead? He prayed. David, the soldier and king, considered prayer his best defense against these enemies. What a powerful model for us to live by!
The Author: Harriet Michael (Kentucky, USA), source: http://devotional.upperroom.org/devotionals/2014-11-19
Thought for the Day
When we are troubled, prayer is our best choice.
Dear heavenly Father, thank you so much for the privilege of prayer. Regardless of our circumstances, help us to be people of prayer. ln your son’s name. Amen.
Prayer Focus: My Enemies
by Joyce Meyer - posted June 16, 2014
Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, my Help and my God.
O God, why do You cast us off forever? Why does Your anger burn and smoke against the sheep of Your pasture?
As I think about the storms we all face in life, I can understand why people sometimes ask, “Why the storms? Why do we have so many problems and struggles in life? Why do God’s people have to deal with so much suffering?”
As I considered these questions, I began to see that Satan plants these questions in our minds. It is his attempt to keep us focused on our problems instead of focusing on the goodness of God. If we persist in asking these questions, we’re implying that God may be to blame. I don’t think it’s wrong to ask God why things happen. The writers of the psalms certainly didn’t hesitate to ask.
I think of the story of Jesus when He visited the home of Mary and Martha after their brother, Lazarus, died. Jesus waited until Lazarus had been dead for four days before He visited. When He arrived, Martha said to Jesus, “Master, if You had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21). She went on to say, “And even now I know that whatever You ask from God, He will grant it to You” (v. 22).
Did she really believe those words? I wonder, because “Jesus said to her, Your brother shall rise again. Martha replied, I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (vs. 23-24). She didn’t get what Jesus was saying.
I don’t want to be unkind to Martha, but she missed it. When Jesus came, she didn’t ask, “Why didn’t You do something?” Instead she said, “If You had been here—if You had been on the job—he’d be alive.”
When Jesus assured her that Lazarus would rise again, she didn’t understand that it was going to happen right then. She could focus only on the resurrection. By looking at an event that was still in the future, she missed the real meaning of Jesus’ words for the present.
But aren’t many of us like Martha? We want our lives to run smoothly, and when they don’t, we ask why? But we really mean, “God, if You truly loved and cared for me, this wouldn’t have happened.”
Let’s think a little more about the “why” question. For example, when someone dies in an accident, one of the first questions family members ask is why? “Why her? Why now? Why this accident?”
For one moment, let’s say God explained the reason. Would that change anything? Probably not. The loved one is still gone, and the pain is just as severe as it was before. What, then, did you learn from the explanation?
In recent years, I’ve begun to think that why isn’t what Christians are really asking God. Is it possible that we’re asking, “God, do You love me? Will You take care of me in my sorrow and pain? You won’t leave me alone in my pain, will You?” Is it possible that, because we’re afraid that God doesn’t truly care about us, we ask for explanations?
Instead, we must learn to say, “Lord God, I believe. I don’t understand, and I could probably never grasp all the reasons why bad things happen, but I can know for certain that You love me and You are with me—always.”
Heavenly Father, instead of asking for answers to the why questions, help me to focus on Your great love for me. When Satan tries to fill my mind with troublesome questions, help me to feel the protection of Your loving, caring arms around me. Help me always to show my gratitude and devotion for all that You do for me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
From the book Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2006 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.
Prayerful Path/Mary Maddox