Pray! Pray! Pray!
How do you pray? I was thinking about myself today. I remember a time when I believed prayer was nothing more than speaking a laundry list. Please don’t misunderstand me. I need the Lord and I ask Him to sustain me each and every day. But a lot of times we get caught up with “I need and I want” and we forget about important things. I know at one time in my life I was more concerned about my personal comfort, rather than my spiritual health.
However, I know we always have permission to speak and talk to God. David, in Psalm 25, was sincere with his prayers when he asked God for three important things in his life. He was direct and he did not feel as though he had to use big words to do so. In my life I have been accused of talking too much. Can you believe that? I was even called out about it when I was younger. In kindergarten I had to wear a large pair of lips and I was labeled as the class “Big Mouth”. I know, unbelievable, right?
A lot of times we feel like we are asking for way too much, or we may even feel shameful when ask God for certain things. Some may feel as though we need a special prayer voice, or we have to pray in a certain fashion for God to even hear us. Sometimes we may even think that God does not listen, He will laugh at us, or He may think we are pathetic because we talk too much.
I am very thankful today that God does not feel this way. He gives us permission to speak to Him about anything and everything. How do I know this? Well, I have been reading the Psalms. If we look closely at David’s words, God uses him to teach us and show us how to pray. Take some time and read Psalm 25.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “The baby learns to speak by imitating the words of his or her parents. We do the same by imitating or using the words of the Psalms, our Father’s words.”
After reading Psalm 25, what do we have permission to ask God for? I believe there are three specific areas.
Look at Psalm 25: 1-2 it says, “O Lord, I give my life to you. I trust in you, my God!” If today, you have woken up and you are scared or worried about what lies ahead of you, then read these verses and repeat them to yourselves. Do you trust?
So much of my trust issues flow out of my failures to trust in my God to take care of me. I get in trouble when I try and do things my own way. Every minute of every day we have the choice to trust in God or to go it alone.
I have two boys and a lot of times I send them on their way, but sometimes I struggle with worry. After losing my daughter to death, it causes me to think things about my sons as well. I know this is wrong and I know I my worry does not equal trust. When I feel this way I begin to pray, “O Lord, I give my life to you. I trust in you, my God!”
The older I get the more I realize how much courage it takes for me to trust in God regardless of the circumstances. When you hear words that you do not want to hear or are afraid to hear you realize trusting in God is very hard work.
David uses a word to show how much he trusts in God. The word is “give”. This signifies an effort. Giving up his life and giving it to God is intentional. The Psalmist is choosing to give his life to God and this takes work and effort.
We have a need to give our life to God and trust in Him. If we start every day in this fashion it will change the trajectory of our lives.
The Psalmist wrote his Psalms in a general fashion. He was not specific because they can be used by all different types of people for different situations. David said, in Psalm 25: 2-4, 20: “I trust in you, my God! Do not let me be disgraced (shamed), or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat. No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced, but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others. Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Protect me! Rescue my life from them! Do not let me be disgraced, for in you I take refuge.”
David was asking God to keep him from shame. His words were written more than 3000 years ago, but shame is something that still dogs all of us humans today. Shame is a very heavy and painful feeling and it causes us to feel as though we do not measure up to other people.
Shame causes us to feel as though we do not belong and causes us to feel if other people knew the truth of our stories then they would reject you.
Did you know there is a difference between shame and guilt? Guilt is looking at the sin in our life, but shame is looking at ourselves. In Genesis both guilt and shame were hooked together in the story of The Fall. The first thing Adam and Eve felt after sinning was shame. They ran from God and covered themselves with fig leaves. Shame always causes us to hide, especially from God.
David wrote that he goes to God with his shame. He knows that God is the only One who can rescue him from it. We have permission to run to God with our shame. I have had to run to Him many times.
Shame loves to isolate each and every one of us. It isolates us from community and if we remain alone we will die. Shame whispers words of worthlessness to us and causes damage. You know what I am talking about? Ever seen a nature show? The little baby rabbit is shown growing up and the music is pleasant. Then the baby rabbit ventures from it mom and the music changes. The music becomes harsh and melodramatic as the wolf devours the baby. For some of you the music has changed. You are allowing shame to isolate you.
1 Peter 5: 8 tells us what happens when we become isolated: “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
When we wander out in isolation, grace is our only protection and we have permission to ask for it. Louie Giglio tweeted, “When the enemy comes with shame and blame, tell him to go measure the distance from east to west and get back to you. Psalm 103”
Psalm 25:15 says, “My eyes are always on the Lord, for he rescues me from the traps of my enemies.” The illustration of being caught in a trap and needing rescue is all throughout the Psalms.
Ever thought about being trapped? Sometimes I dream about being in a room that shrinks and there is no way out. Usually this dream causes me to wake up scared and afraid.
Ever had an animal get trapped in your house? I have had a bird get in my garage. I thought before it escaped that it was going to kill itself. An animal that is trapped works hard to get out. Do we not do this ourselves as well?
When we feel trapped by circumstances we become desperate to be rescued. Rarely do we say as David did, “My eyes are always on the Lord”. However, this is what David is doing. When he was stuck he turned his eyes on God.
Psalm 123:2 says, “We keep looking to the Lord our God for his mercy, just as servants keep their eyes on their master, as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal.”
You need rescue? Keep on asking. I get this look from my chocolate lab, Fudge, when he desires to be rescued from his fence. He looks to me to become his rescue.
Are you looking to the Savior to become yours? Keep looking asking until there is an action. We are given permission from God to ask for His rescue.
If you need to find trust, this is your Psalm.
If you need to be free from shame, this is your Psalm.
If you feel stuck or trapped and need rescued, this is your Psalm.