Scripture: “The Lord is my shepherd—I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Ps 23:1-3
Observation: Who is the Psalmist declaring these things to? That’s right: the man in the mirror.
Analysis: Worship, in all its forms, is broadly summed up like this:
- To God (“You O Lord are a shield to me…);
- To my heart (“Why are you in despair O my Soul…”;
- To the folks around me as reminding and encouragement, and lastly (“Lift up your voice and praise Him with loud shouts of praise”);
- To the unregenerate (beat’s me—I am sure there is a scripture somewhere for this category).
Like I said, broadly.
I picture the Psalmist here, off by himself. I would like to picture a quiet, peaceful and serene place, but that is not supported by the text. Facts are: the scripture isn’t clear.
However, I can relate to the Psalmist in this: no matter the turmoil around me (or not), I can have turmoil within and sometime, just sometimes, I need to talk to my heart and remind it of the truths of the Gospel.
Unfortunately, prayer like this isn’t taught much in discipleship meetings, nor sermons, or anything like that. It is not on the specific agenda of teaching “how to be an effective disciple.” Example:
Wednesday night small group: “Tonight we are going to talk about and practice about a specific kind of prayer: Praying to remind your own heart on the Goodness of God.” Not teaching about how good God is, or anything like that, but teaching the practice and technique of HOW TO PRAY TO MY OWN HEART.
Yesterday’s post mentioned “guarding my immortal soul.” This is the category that praying to my own heart falls in.
The Psalmist reflects on God’s Character and Purpose; His exhibited care; the Why’s of what He does; the functions that lead me in His ways (rod and staff). Why I should have confidence and my undeserved rewards. Check it out: they are all in the text.
23 is not a Psalm for the dead, but for the living; not for the ones who are finished chasing Him, but for the ones that can still pursue.
Prayer: You, O Lord, are a balm to my soul; a feast for the eyes of my heart; a shout of triumphal joy of your saving Grace. I don’t deserve it, still you called me. Make my heart soft every day…AMEN.