Sometime last year, I happened to be at a popular video store and stumbled onto a dvd that I was surprised to see on the shelf. It was entitled **”Be Still…” and it featured a list of “Who’s Who” in the Christian community…such names as Beth Moore, Dr. Henry Cloud, Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Max Lucado and the list goes on. The subject was contemplative prayer and the necessity of being still in the world that we live.
I quickly rented the dvd and took it home and 90 minutes flew past. My soul was touched by the content, the music and the restful pace of the material presented.
During that time, there were many factors in my life that were causing me to wake up during the night…gripped with fear…fear of my present reality as well as the unknown. There were plagueing thoughts that would not let me go while the rest of the world slumbered. I would try to pray and I didn’t always have the words to convey how I felt. As this pattern continued, I would find that not only would my mind obsess about real challenges but I would even focus on really minor questions…it was horrible but it was very real.
The “Be Still…” video talked at length about contemplative prayer which I was familiar. One of the segments suggested picking a verse or two at bedtime and to begin by saying the scriptures out loud repeatedly each time softening your voice.
I am sharing this with you this morning because in my morning psalm readings I read that first group of scriptures (Ps. 61:1-4) that I began to contemplate before bedtime and the Holy Spirit helped to remind me of them when I would awake out of sleep. How I love them…they anchored my mind when I was being covered by the waves of uncertainty. I had no words of my own to call out to God but David did and yet I felt like they were my own, the ones that I had been searching for but only ended with a tongue fully tied…how did God know that I would need to know that I wasn’t alone in the struggle?
I don’t often read the Psalms in order…I read them according to the day of the week and each 30th thereafter…but today the Lord caused me to read the two psalms after my stabilizing psalm and I was flooded with such joy and hope and further reminded of the whole counsel of God’s Word.
I hope that wherever this day finds you that these scriptures will give you courage to hold onto the Lord’s hand…He is our refuge and He is there with us during those endless nights where even in our exhaustion we can’t wait for the light of a new day. I hope you will conclude like David that:
“And I –in righteousness I will see your face;
when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.”
My stabilizing Psalm:
“Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.
I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.”
“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God, He is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”
“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
ON MY BED I REMEMBER YOU; I THINK OF YOU THROUGH THE WATCHES OF NIGHT.
Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.
My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”
Psalm 63:1-4, 5-8