Summary: Not only is Psalm 139 important theologically, but it is a good model for learning what we need to do in beginning to pray successfully by praying the Scriptures themselves.
In the “Dark Ages” of television, before there were hundreds of cable channels with nothing to watch and before there was even color broadcasting, much less HDTV, the news division of one of the networks (CBS) had a show entitled, “You Are There!” The idea of the show was to take you back and allow you to watch some pivotal events in history as though they were being broadcast as news that was happening. What an interesting concept that was! Via the magic box of ultimate mind candy, I could find myself ANYWHERE geographically and temporally within human history. I could hear great men deliberate great actions, listen to their motives for making great decisions, and observe the consequences close-up.
It was a pretty cool experience, but it doesn’t compare with how our Eternal Father comprehends our daily experiences and total life-spans from the perspective beyond Time because it was all being a spectator and not being involved. But God is involved with us and wherever we allow God to direct our lives, God is not only THERE but making a difference. And if we learn to respond with integrity and enthusiasm to our Eternal Father, His perspective can become our perspective such that it shrinks our everyday problems and increases our potential for the future, both in Time and with Him in eternity. I truly believe that this is an important concept and will affect the way we relate to our Holy Father. Since I believe we relate to the Father in prayer, and since I believe that it is most eloquent to pray the Bible in our prayer lives, I feel led to look at this question from the perspective of a famous prayer. In fact, I hope it will help us to pray more effectively ourselves.
In fact, I’m going to ask you to do something unusual. I’m going to ask you to turn in your Bibles to Psalm 139 and follow along with eyes wide open, praying quietly to God as I lead us in prayer following the boundaries of the Psalm. After all, many of the psalms (including this one) were actually prayers prompted by and preserved by the Holy Spirit. So, I don’t see how we can go wrong by praying them.
I need you to assess and appraise me according to Your knowledge of me,
[You see, I can’t be objective, but You know more about me than I do…] (v. 1)
You know where I’m comfortable and where I’m willing to take a stand
And You can understand my intentions before I even get around to acting. (v. 2)
You know the boundaries of what I can do and the limits of my endurance;
You know all the little things about my habits and my intentions. (v. 3)
I can’t even say what I’m thinking before You know where I’m going. (v. 4)
You protect me on all sides (though some think I’m sheltered) and You give me guidance. (v. 5)
I simply cannot comprehend all You are and do;
I can’t storm the fortress of Your Presence. (v. 6)
[On the other hand, You come to me…]
Is there any place I could go where Your Spirit couldn’t bless?
And is there any place where You are incapable of demonstrating Your Presence? [Of course not!] (v. 7)
If I could reach beyond nature and find myself in divine space, I would find You.
If I were as helpless as a ghost of myself, You would be there for me. (v. 8)
If I were powerful enough to bring the dawn [each morning]
And I could live where the sun sets, (v. 9)
I would still need You to guide me and to hang onto me. (v. 10)
Even when I want to be hidden, to sink deep in the shadows of depression, (v. 11)
The light of Your Presence guarantees that even night must be as day. (v. 12)
That must be because You made me the thinking being I am,
Weaving together my twisting DNA code in the womb of my mother. (v. 13)
I’m really thankful that You are as awesome as You are.
Your actions all around me make me feel low and properly worshipful.
You know my essence, inside and out. (v. 14)
You know everything about my body from the skeleton out;
Since You sculpted me out of the available elements (v. 15)
You “signed off” on my zygote,
Even though You could see my entire future on the scroll of history;
You’ve known what I was going to go through, before the circumstances occurred. (v. 16)
Thinking about all of this [and still considering the miracle of “free will”] is mind-boggling.
It should make me feel secure that You are aware of everything from the start. (v. 17)