Summary: As we repeatedly expose ourselves to scripture, as we anticipate receiving help, strength, joy, and other blessings from the Bible, as we experience the hope of his promises, we will learn to delight in God’s law and in God himself. Then we will pray with
Prayer Keys - Delight in the Lord
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Ps 37:4
Our relationship with God should bring us more satisfaction, more pleasure, more joy than any other relationship or possession we have. To be honest with you, that is only sometimes true of me.
In the Bible, when Jesus taught a model prayer, he began, “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.” Jesus delighted in God the father. His prayer began with honoring the father. When we delight in the Lord, our first desire will be to glorify God.
The Bible continues, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” When we delight in the Lord, our first desire will be to glorify God and our second desire will be to see his kingdom spreading and his will being done.
As was the case with praying according to God’s will, this is not an incantation to manipulate God into doing our will. Finding delight in the Lord is a guide to submit ourselves to his will. We can’t think, “If I decide to delight in the Lord, he will give me this, that, or the other thing.” When we truly delight in the Lord, he will change our desires, we desire the same things he wants to give us. Right delight, right desires.
It seems to be human nature to delight in things that are not good for us and resist things that are good for us. But we can learn to find pleasure in things that are good for us. There are people who acquire a taste for healthy food and a distaste for unhealthy food. The keys to acquired taste are repeated exposure and the right attitude.
I’ve heard that coffee is an acquired taste, that no one is born with a taste for coffee. I’ve never acquired that taste and neither has my sister. My dad did. He drank enough coffee for himself and both his kids. It seems that when people acquire a taste for coffee, they crave it every day.
If no one has a natural taste for coffee, I don’t know why anyone acquired the taste in the first place. Maybe some native tribe used it as a test for manhood. You are not a man until you can drink this bitter brew. Little boys wanted to pass the test for manhood. They repeatedly tasted little bits of coffee. They continued to drink it to prove they were still men. Eventually, they developed a taste for it. Then they craved it.
How do we acquire a taste for the things of the Lord? How do we come to crave the things of the Lord? How do we come to delight in the Lord?
Forms of the word “delight” (delight, delighted, delighting, delightful…) occur over a hundred times in the Bible. Many relate to delight in the Lord and most of those specifically relate to delight in God’s word, which you may have already realized is a second theme of this series because it is so vital to so many of these prayer keys.
There are other ways, too. One is to understand that God created us to fellowship with him, to delight in him. Another is found in Isaiah 58:14, “Then you shall delight in the Lord.” Before the word “then,” Isaiah describes a life of service. Isaiah 58 may have inspired the Air Force officers responsible for stating the value of “service before self.” Another way is to practice the attitude of gratitude so often mentioned in scripture. For now we will focus on that second theme of this series and emphasize delight in God’s word, the Bible.
Surely you’ve seen those old movies about the wild West. Near the end, the good guy and the bad guy stand facing each other at opposite ends of the only street in town. The local folks, knowing what will happen, clear the street. They slam doors and shutter windows. The general store hangs up a “closed” sign. Only two men remain outside. The wind blows a cloud of dust from the street. A dog barks in the distance. With another gust of wind a tumbleweed… tumbles… between them.
Where do tumbleweeds come from? Do they germinate on the tumble, grow on the tumble, and die on the tumble? No. In the spring, they grow as thick, green bushes. When the spring rains stop, their roots cannot find enough water to sustain them. They wither and fall over. Eventually, their roots are no longer able to keep them anchored to the ground. They literally dry up and blow away.
Mesquite trees, which can grow in the same area, are just the opposite. Even after a prolonged drought, if you cut one down, it grows back. If you cut down what grows back, it will grow back again. You could dig down five or ten feet below ground, cut it down, and burn the stump. You would soon have a mesquite grove as dozens (if not hundreds!) of severed roots sprout. A significant difference between tumbleweeds and mesquite trees is in the roots. If David had lived in West Texas, God may have inspired him to use tumbleweeds and mesquite trees in Psalms 1.