/ NOTE OF ENCOURAGEMENT
October 16, 2017
Bringing God into the Grind
Greetings, I55 Ladies:
Those of us who have been at this scripture praying over our sons and daughters for a number of years now know that this is a powerful and productive tool to wield in our lives and in theirs. They may not even be aware of what you, as the Mom, and the others in your group are speaking back to the Lord each day, but heaven is listening, and there is so much going on behind the scenes that we do not see, even in the dry seasons that we experience here as we watch and wait to see changes in their lives. Until recently, all four of my children have been assigned parts of psalms for their scripture verses. Three of them are still in the psalms, and the fourth one I moved to Hebrews 12, as he went off to Moody Bible Institute this fall to study to be a pastor. I think I may move him back to a psalm before long. I just love the raw emotions, the desperation, and the intensity of the psalms, and that is where I live before God as I pray for my children.
This past weekend a very dear friend of mine handed me a small book to read, Praying the Bible, by Donald Whitney. I thought, “Have we not been doing this for awhile now? Do I need more instruction in this particular endeavor?” Ha! This is the most powerful book I have read in a very long time! Not only that, but this author reminded me that in everything that God wants us to do, He has given us specific guidelines in His word for carrying out His instructions. That is true of marriage, of raising children, of living life with integrity. Why would it also not be true of prayer? And why would I assume that I have a good handle on anything that God knows could be better, deeper, and more intrenched in my life? All of my working out of my relationship with the Lord will always be a process, and so it is with prayer.
Then I hit the chapter on praying the Psalms! Woohoo! I am on board with you, big guy! I love choosing a psalm to sing or to pray or to journal, whatever comes across in my reading. This author’s approach here was much more constructive and quite brilliant. I say that partly because I am a mathematician, and everything in my life needs structure, notes, charts, and diagrams, in essence, a definitive plan. I am the polar opposite of my husband in this, of course, and tend to drive the man crazy with my frequent question to him in the morning, “So, what is the POD (plan of the day)?” He is a much more spontaneous, free-spirited individual and loves to see how much sun is out and what might be possible on any given morning before he decides what he needs to accomplish. God has had His work cut out in bringing the two of us together in our thinking and in our communication on this, but we are both much better than we used to be.
Mr. Whitney suggests that the Psalms, as they were meant to be spoken or sung back to God and are most often directly addressed to Him, should be our blueprint for knowing how to send praise and thanksgiving heavenward each day in our quiet time. But he does not stop there, and this was the best part! He breaks all 150 Psalms into a simple plan for using definitely each day of the month, not like the random pattern I was working through on my own. He even includes a chart in the back of the book! (My favorite!) So, what he proposes is that we take the specific date on the monthly calendar and use it to skim five (5) psalms. Then we focus on one of those five for the day, and pray through that psalm, lifting up those sentiments in praise and adoration to the Father.
Yesterday was day ten (10) on the calendar, so I looked quickly through Psalm 10, 40, 70, 100, and 130, and chose one of those for praying that day. Today was day eleven (11) of the month, so I skimmed Psalm 11, 41, 71, 101, and 131, and chose one of these for today. The pattern is that you begin with the current number date for the first possibility of a Psalm for today and then speedily peruse four more Psalms, each being 30 additional numbers ahead of the first, and then choose one of the five to pray through. That means that on day 30 of the month, I would be looking at Psalm 30, 60, 90, 120, and 150. When a month has an additional day at the 31st, then the suggestion from Mr. Whitney is that I look through Psalm 119 and choose part of that most lengthy psalm to pray through on that day. That means that Psalm 119 does repeat during the month, but it is big enough to accommodate being pulled apart to be used more than once.1
This is a marvelous plan! Why? Because it moves me through the psalms in periodic order, helps me, over time, to learn those that I might not know otherwise, and gives me enough material to look at each day that I might be successful in finding something that suits my current position or disposition before heaven.
Now, you may not be as in love with the Psalms as I am, but this will help each of us to bring more of scripture into our general prayer life, lifting up to heaven’s throne the very words that God intends for us to use to praise and honor Him. It will also help us to avoid mindlessly saying the same old things in prayer that we have said before about the same old things. I have felt lately like my life is so very full of little insignificant tasks that do not really mean anything. In fact, as a Mom, I have felt that way for a very long time. I am stuck in the grind of my life. How do I see heavenly purpose in washing clothes or mopping floors or cooking food again, or changing diapers? How is that possible? Scripture tells us that God inhabits the praises of His people. Praying through a psalm to Him at the beginning of my day ensures that holy ground is established in my everyday existence. I have brought God into my grind. He is responsible then for helping me see Him in my regular routine and keeping me at my grind, as He intends for me to do right now, with His unfailing grace.
I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart;
I will tell of all Your marvelous works.
I will be glad and rejoice in You;
I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High. . . .
For You have maintained my right and my cause. (Psalm 9: 1 – 2, 4)
Blessed be the LORD,
Because He has heard the voice of my supplications!
The LORD is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.(Psalm 28: 6 – 7)
Praise the LORD.
Blessed are those who fear the LORD, who find great delight in His commands.
Their children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.
(Psalm 112: 1 – 2)
1 Donald S. Whitney, Praying the Bible, Crossway, Wheaton, IL, 2015, chapter 5.
© 2017 Isaiah 55 Pray-ers. Used by permission.