Summary: Will you pray that God’s will be done in your lives? Will you be willing to live lives that encounter God’s mercy and grace. Will you pray knowing that you are in a rhythm of pray that will be answered for it is prayed knowing that his kingdom will come.
Praying in the will of God.
Last week we looked at whole idea of reflecting on the words of scripture using divine reading or lectio divina. The passage of scripture that I brought was a prayer that was in itself a response to God’s answering prayer.
King David was lifted from the slippery place where he was stuck in mud and mire and was set on a firm place on a rock. No longer insecure but found firm, secure.
I asked that you look at this passage using this “divine reading” and we’ve already had some responses to meditation on this passage. Thanks for taking the sermon last week seriously to the point of meditating on the word. I hope that if you’ve found this a useful exercise that you continue engaging in this way with the scriptures of both testaments.
I’ve had a few interesting learnings myself this week and I’d like to share a couple of them with you.
David says this in verse nine of Psalm 40. “ I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly. I do not seal my lips, as you know O Lord. Do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly.”
I’m happy to hold these verses as my own. I really enjoy telling others of the greatness of God, why? Because he has taken me from some situations that might otherwise held me captive to events, to sin that would most likely have destroyed me, if not physically, spiritually. I am more than happy to proclaim the righteousness of God and tell alone that God is good.
But does this result in constant smooth sailing? Not really, but the change comes, the realisation comes, as I said last week; I cannot just see the light reflected, shimmering, but live in eternal relationship with the light, for Jesus is the Light of the World. We no longer just have to hear songs but can sing a new song of praise to God for what he has done! There is a shift that occurs…not just understanding that there is a God, but interacting with God, understanding that as imperfect a being as I am, I can stand accepted because of God’s grace.
I’ve discovered that God’s goodness often goes beyond my human understanding, beyond what I would expect. I think King David was in the same place when he went through the mud and mire of Psalm 40. His prayer is this “Do not without your mercy from me, O Lord, may your love and your truth always protect me. For troubles without number surround me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me.” It’s almost like this last part of the Psalm is in reference to what God saved King David from that mud and mire that he referred to at the start of the Psalm. How did the Psalm start? “I waited patiently for the Lord for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire.” I waited patiently, what is that about?
Personally I get so impatient; my prayers are “now God now” and “Lord if there are any who are thinking of coming to the service, to any service prompt them to move Lord now!” If you have been in the prayer meetings before the service you can vouch for that. I think Psalm 40 may have a personal message for me; it’s my own fault for I’ve previously prayed for patience. With people like me God id good, God is merciful.
God is good. David cried out for mercy. We know from what he has said that he received continued to receive mercy, we all do. God saved David form that slippery place. Interestingly it is a characteristic of God to be merciful. David did not have the advantage we have in knowing some other scriptures, for instance God says through Isaiah, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10).
But David understood the merciful nature of God, what he was praying for would be answered, maybe David would have to be patient in receiving the act of being lifted up. It doesn’t look like it happened overnight, but it did happen. The protection that God brought was not all physical David asked this, “may your love and your truth always protect me?” He wasn’t asking for soldiers and armour he was asking for this very characteristics of God to protect him, love and truth. As we become more like Christ we too can have this protection. You see, if we are walking in the will of God, seeking after his will for our lives, our prayers will be in rhythm with his will. We will get what we pray for. It is like the character of God envelopes us the fruits of the Holy Spirit become our characteristics. If you ever wonder if the Holy Spirit is at work in your life look back at who you were before you started on that journey with Jesus.