Summary: This sermon is an exhortation to God’s people to cry out to Him for a renewed sense of His manifest presence in the midst of His people.
Man, it’s been a long, hot, dry summer – has it not? As I’ve driven along state highways, I’ve observed garden after garden burned up from the heat – just parched to pulp, dried up to nothing. There’s no doubt that those plants long for the rain from heaven. Even gardens with earthly, city and county water haven’t really survived the drought of days like we’ve experienced. Hey, I wonder have we even prayed “A Prayer to the God of our lives" for water?
The deer described in the initial verse of this Psalm must have been seeking for a stream of water in a summer similar to that which we’ve experienced. The point however was the Psalmist longing for a vital sense of God’s presence in his life. He longed for the dynamic, vital, experiential presence of the living God in the midst of his life experience. Perhaps at this point in his pilgrimage he was at a distance from God, either geographically, emotionally or even spiritually. He’s not been able to worship with God’s people perhaps due to duty during war or by force of his enemies into exile or even physically due to illness. So out of sadness of spirit comes a longing for the Lord expressed in “A Prayer to the God of My Life.”
Maybe we’re to a point of longing and willingness to offer “A Prayer to the God of Our Life.” Last week I emphasized from Heb 12:14-15 that the greatest obstacle to the inner peace of God’s people is an unforgiving spirit. The greatest obstacle to spiritual unity, church harmony and God sent revival is a refusal to be reconciled. And I emphasized that it’s YOUR responsibility. So that needs to be a part of “A Prayer to the God of YOUR Life” as the Spirit convicts. My prayer for you as I preach this word from God based on Psalm 42 is that God will speak to you about what might truly go into “A Prayer to the God of YOUR Life.”
First of all there was obviously:
I. A Prayer for the Manifest Presence of God vv.1-2
The Psalmist Prayed a Panting Prayer for the manifest presence of God to return to his experience. He had a longing for God, to see the face of God, to be in the very presence of God. He had a hunger and a thirst to worship God where there was a vital dynamic presence of the Spirit of God. Jesus said at the outset of His Sermon on Mount in Matt 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
I don’t sense that longing among God’s people who gather here. All I see is too many sitting back on your comfortable, padded pew, watching a performance by the professionals. I don’t see any dynamic participation, animation and spirit involvement praying for or pouring out your soul for the manifest presence of God to return to this place. You ought to be ashamed fall on your knees in this altar repenting in sackcloth and ashes. I don’t sense there is a real, genuine hunger and thirst for the living God. What I do discern spiritually is what Paul said would occur in the last days when he charged young Timothy as recorded in 2 Tim 4:1-4 . . . Too many people have itching ears to hear what they want to hear, the way they want to hear it. You haven’t proven that you want to pour out your soul to God until he reveals the truth He has for you and that will grow your soul up. You have need to be spoon fed on pabulum and milk rather than on meat, the solid food. The writer of Hebrews addressed this as well in 5:11-14 . . . I’ve been feeding you solid food, but I see you are not able to digest it so I am going back to milk for a time until I sense God leading me back once again to the teaching about righteousness.
Therefore, there is a dire need for you to pray a prayer like that of the Psalmist for God to manifest His real, dynamic, vital, spiritual presence to you as you pour out your longing, hunger, thirst and soul to Him to reveal truth to you and you can meet with the living God once again. Secondly, we need to pray:
II. A Prayer for the Meaningful Present Work of God vv.3-5
The Psalmist prayed a passionate prayer for the meaningful present work of God in his life in vv.3-5 . . . With a deep longing and anguish in his soul for the absence of the movement of God in his heart and life, the Psalmist cried out to God, “Why are downcast, O my soul . . .” Oh, what a longing. Oh, what a heart cry to the God of his salvation.