From Panic To Praise
Father, You are the God who draws near. Today, show me Yourself in the face of Jesus, I pray.
Read Psalm 16:1-11
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“To worry in the presence of God is not prayer. To lay everything we worry about before God is part of the privilege of prayer” (Phil. 4:6; Anonymous).
This psalm of David is one part prayer to God, and one part a reminder of God’s faithfulness. It is written from a place of danger. It starts with the sort of “help” prayer we all have prayed: “keep me safe, O God” (1). Then David remembers how he has prayed previously; how he has put himself totally in God’s hands (2); how he has recognized that every good thing he possesses came from God (2); how he has identified himself with God’s people (3) and kept himself from all pagan or idolatrous worship (4). He has discovered the reality of God’s care and protection (5,6), so why is he worrying about safety now? Rather than praying a panic prayer, he praises God (7). God will guide him, if and when guidance is needed. He is secure in God’s protection (8,9), even if his life is threatened. What matters is God’s presence, not the nature of the circumstances (11).
Perhaps this psalm was written when David was hiding from Saul. Whatever its original context, the journey from an instinctive panic prayer to a reflection on security in God is applicable to us all. What sort of instinctive prayers do we pray before we have had time to think about how to pray? Do we allow our experience of God’s faithfulness to inform our prayers? Are we growing in trust, or are we in permanent panic mode?
The New Testament gives this psalm a further dimension. It was understood as a prophecy of the resurrection (Acts 2:25-28). The book of Psalms was Jesus’ prayer book. He trusted the Father to raise him from the grave. Could this psalm have been one of the scriptures which led Jesus to the assurance that he would be raised (Mark 9:9)?
How you pray, particularly without having time to think first, tells about the depth of your faith. How do you pray?
Loving Lord, I pray for Your Word to enter deeply into my life, stabilizing and strengthening me. When all around would drag me down, may Your Word lift me up.
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