WORLD’S LARGEST SANCTUARY
Lord of all life, you are my guardian and guide. I thank you for new mercies this day.
Read PSALM 148
1 Praise the Lord.[a]
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights above.
2 Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
3 Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars.
4 Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.
5 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for at his command they were created,
6 and he established them for ever and ever—
he issued a decree that will never pass away.
7 Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
8 lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding,
9 you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,
10 wild animals and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds,
11 kings of the earth and all nations,
you princes and all rulers on earth,
12 young men and women,
old men and children.
13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
14 And he has raised up for his people a horn,[b]
the praise of all his faithful servants,
of Israel, the people close to his heart.
Praise the Lord.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’1
For years it has been my practice to take a prayer walk at night. I always follow the same route so I can focus on talking aloud to God. I take a different, longer route on Sunday, usually during the last hour of daylight. I go to what I call ‘my sanctuary’, a high spot on the path. I stand there with my arms lifted to the heavens praising God for his creation, for who he is, and for what he’s done in my life. I’m imagining the psalmist standing at a similar spot as he utters this psalm. His praise follows two themes that are also part of my pattern.
First, he says, ‘Praise the Lord from the heavens’ (v 1) and proceeds to list several examples of big-picture praise: angels, heavenly hosts, sun, moon, stars, and so on. It’s as if he’s an astronaut orbiting the earth with a view of the entire globe and he joins the universe of praise. When I was President of Scripture Union USA, I sometimes took a prayer walk at lunchtime. Raising my arms and looking into the sky above our building always put my day-to-day challenges in their proper perspective.
The psalmist’s second theme starts, ‘Praise the Lord from the earth’ (v 7), turning his attention to things closer to home: sea creatures, weather, mountains, hills, trees, animals, and flying birds. On my Sunday prayer walks I consciously make myself aware of the sounds around me: birds, wind, rustling leaves, small animals scurrying about. I imagine myself joining with the smallest sparrow, praising our Creator in his sanctuary. I’m not worshipping creation: that’s a mistake. Instead, I’m joining with this psalmist exclaiming, ‘praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted’ (v 13)!
Sometime today, find a small Bible and take it with you on a walk. When you get to a nice spot, read Psalm 148 aloud, then continue talking to God.
For your name’s sake Lord, for your glory, do something mighty in worship in me today. Inspire, surprise, and fill me with your Spirit as I worship you.
1 Mic 6:8
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