Monday, October 03, 2011

Praying from the Scriptures...

Well, it's Monday night here in Japan, and that means one thing:

time for another after community night reflected blog.

Tonight our topic was praying from Scriptures. We have already gone though the Apostolic prayers, so this week was more reflective, asking what our favorite or meaningful passages to pray from Scripture was.

At first I was a bit stumped. I haven't prayed Scripture in a long time. So nothing came to mind.

But then I opened an old Bible I haven't used in a long time, and pages and pages of highlighted verses jumped out at me, reminding me of where I have been, and what I have prayed before.

And I realized again, how very little I change.

I'm still praying about the same things it feels like.

When I was younger, I struggled with clinical depression. I had childhood depression as well. So I fear much of my life has been lived in a cloud of negative thought patterns, keeping me chained and isolated in my own little personal bubble.

It's a hard habit to break even when I am not currently depressed.

During that time in my life, Psalm 13 was a staple for me. I prayed it often, with great feeling, grateful that I was not alone in my darkness. There was someone else who had gone through it all before, and still managed to praise God.

How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
my enemy will say, "I have overcome him,"
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD,
for he has been good to me.

When I was younger, I struggled to figure out who my enemies were. I assumed at the time that I was my own enemy, allowing my thoughts to destroy myself from the inside out. Now I know better. My enemy is unseen, but ever so real. My enemy attacks me often, and would definately rejoice if I fell. Yes, I know who my enemy is now. It makes more sense.

And that enemy is the one who keeps attacking me to the point where I am back in the same place, crying the same tears, praying the same prayers, and receiving the same comfort to continue. So much has changed, yet so very little.

The other Psalm that I chose to share with the community tonight was Psalm 25. Psalm 25:4 was my Confirmation verse when I was in the 7th grade. I'm grateful for the childlike faith I had then, and how it has kept me grounded all these years. Even now, I pray and yearn for the guidance of God...

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;
in you I trust, O my God.
Do not be let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one whose hope is in you
will ever be put to shame,
but they will be put to shame
who are treacherous without excuse.

Show me your ways, O LORD,
teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.

Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
Remember no the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
for you are good, O LORD.

Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.
All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful
for those who keep the demands of his covenant.
For the sake of your name, O LORD,
forgive my iniquity, though it is great.
Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD?
He will instruct him in the way chose for him.
He will spend his days in prosperity,
and his descendants will inherit the land.
The LORD confides in those who fear him;
he makes his covenant know to them.

My eyes are ever on the LORD,

for only he will release my feet from the snare.
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart have multiplied;
free me from my anguish.
Look up on my affliction and my distress
and take away all my sins.
See how my enemies have increased
and how fiercely they hate me!
Guard my life and rescue me;
let me knot be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness protect me,
because my hope is in you.

Redeem Israel, O God,
from all their troubles!

I love the lifting up of the soul, the pleading for guidance and truth, the freedom from shame and the prayers for rescue.

How much I have forgotten! How often I have relied on my own rightness and my own prayers! Yet there were such treasures and so many more waiting for me!

Yes, I have neglected the Word of God recently.

And this might be why I have no strength lately.

So it should be a good goal for the beginning of a new year: Find and pray my heart in more and more Scripture.


1 comment:

Joni said...

Oh, how thirsty we can sometimes get without even noticing until we are completely parch. We all need to be attentive and not forget to take in some words of Living Water. Thanks for the reminder. ^-^

I find praying scripture refreshing and a good guide as well. Sometimes it's hard for me to find words to pray but reading and stating the promises of truth is always a good thing.

Praying for you and Japan,