Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Simple prayers and other acts of faith

For a few years now, I've been trying to be more disciplined in my prayers and Bible reading as I seek to better know, honor, obey, serve, love and glorify God. I'm still inconsistent, at best. And I feel very inadequate.

In recent weeks, I've been participating in the Monday morning prayer gathering at church. I believe God has called me to do this, and I am grateful that I didn't make excuses when He clearly laid out the way for me to be involved. It is an overwhelming and humbling experience. It exposes my inadequacies: how little I know about praying in spirit, in words and in actions. But even in this short time, it has become a very important part of my week. Showing up feels like an act of obedience and faith, and I trust God to teach me and use me and grow me as He sees fit, to His glory.

Along that line, an opportunity came up at work for me to write the daily prayers for the newspaper for a few weeks. I knew when I was asked that this would not be easy for me -- the prayers are supposed to be short, and God (and anyone who has read my writing) knows I am wordy! How would I know which words to write? How can I come up with daily prayers a week in advance? But I could not say no, even as I had no clear idea of where to begin.

A praying friend suggested that I write prayers from the Psalms. I've heard of this before, but when I sat down to try it last week, I couldn't even get started. The friend offered an example and I tried again. I finally came up with seven days. Simple but not easy. I'm still second-guessing what I wrote as I see the words on the front page of the newspaper. I just have to keep trusting that God knows what He is doing in putting this in my hands for these few weeks.

These are what I came up with for the first week, meditating on the Psalm number of the date (such as Psalm 14 for April 14).

April 14: Lord, grant us Your wisdom and save us from foolish thoughts, words and actions. Amen.

April 15: Lord, please help us when troubles arise, and let us honor You in all we do. Amen.

April 16: Preserve us, gracious God, for in You we put our trust. In You, we find goodness. Amen.

April 17: Gracious Lord, keep our steps on Your path, so that we will not slip and fall into trouble or despair. Amen.

April 18: Holy Lord, you give us strength. May we trust You to guide us to use it wisely. Amen.

April 19: Lord, Your creation declares Your glory. We are part of that creation; may we likewise glorify You. Amen.

April 20: Lord, You know the desires of our hearts. Help us to trust You to transform them to the desires of Your heart. Amen.

And now it's time for another round, due when I get to work Thursday afternoon. I have set aside time earlier in the day to sit with open Bible and prayerful heart. I pray that God will fill me with His spirit and give me His clear guidance, to His glory.

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