Steve Macchia Blog

Praying Biblical Prayers (#23) – Psalm 46 – Be still and know God

 

praying hands

 

Throughout this series we have joined some of our favorite biblical characters in the prayers they once prayed and which God has preserved for us in the Scriptures. As you ponder the variety of prayers from the Great Prayer Book, the Psalms, be enveloped by each word as if it was written directly to and for you…because in fact they were and are a gift from God for you. Praying the Scriptures in this way will bring health and vitality to your heart and soul, and great liberty to your life of prayer.

~~

Psalm 46 prayerfully reminds us to pay attention to the ways God has been our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble. Therefore, we shall not fear…no matter what circumstances befall us, consume us, or seek to overwhelm us. God’s desire has been and always will be to protect and provide for his beloved children. All we need to do is stop long enough to remember the many ways he has done so over the generations and throughout our own lives. At the end of verses 3, 7 and 11 the psalmist inserts the word “Selah” (not shown here) and that word, from the vantage point of many scholars, simply means “pause” – and, how fitting for us to do so on a regular basis. The more dramatic call for such an arresting from the daily grind is the pinnacle of this psalm, “Be still and know that I am God.” When we quiet the sounds and diminish the activities, slow down the rhythms and cease the tireless pursuits of this world, and simply still ourselves in the midst of this crazed world…then and only then will we know the ways of God. The deepest forms of prayer always include stillness, which leads to greater attentiveness.

Today…

Hop off the treadmill of your fast-paced drivenness to succeed and simply pursue stillness before God, so that you can know him more deeply and recognize once more that he is indeed your refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble, turmoil and tempest. Be…still…and…know…(Psalm 46)

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Behold the splendor of the Lord – Believe the promises of his love – Belong to those who unreservedly trust him – Become prayerful in all you are and do.

 



Praying Biblical Prayers (#22) – Psalm 42 – My soul pants for you

 

praying hands

 

Throughout this series we have joined some of our favorite biblical characters in the prayers they once prayed and which God has preserved for us in the Scriptures. As you ponder the variety of prayers from the Great Prayer Book, the Psalms, be enveloped by each word as if it was written directly to and for you…because in fact they were and are a gift from God for you. Praying the Scriptures in this way will bring health and vitality to your heart and soul, and great liberty to your life of prayer.

~~

Panting and thirsting are words that describe deep calling out deeper still in the prayers of the saints. This psalm is often combined with the following psalm (43) as if they were one…notice the similarities, especially in the desire to be rescued in the midst of feeling downcast. What’s so life-giving about this psalm is the raw material of honest longing for God contained in the language used. Panting, tears, pouring out, shouts of joy and praise, downcast, disturbed, forgotten, mourning, suffering, agony, all combined as an orchestral cacophony of internal clamoring for hope in the Lord. The richness of the text comes alive in our hearing and strengthened all the more in our use of the verbiage in our own prayers. We all suffer similarly, having experienced tears in the watches of the night, wondering if God remembers us, and thirsting for the same thing: the presence, power and peace of the Living God.

Today…

As you give yourself permission to fully enter this prayerful psalm of longing, let your heart swell up with thanksgiving that God accepts you just as you are and can handle all of your rantings and every single panting for more and more of his gifts of grace, mercy and love. (Psalm 42)

 

As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food
day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise
among the festive throng.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.

By day the Lord directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God my Rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”
My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

Behold the splendor of the Lord – Believe the promises of his love – Belong to those who unreservedly trust him – Become prayerful in all you are and do.

 

 



Praying Biblical Prayers (#21) – Psalm 25 – Show me, Teach me, Guide me

 

praying hands

 

Throughout this series we have joined some of our favorite biblical characters in the prayers they once prayed and which God has preserved for us in the Scriptures. As you ponder the variety of prayers from the Great Prayer Book, the Psalms, be enveloped by each word as if it was written directly to and for you…because in fact they were and are a gift from God for you. Praying the Scriptures in this way will bring health and vitality to your heart and soul, and great liberty to your life of prayer.

~~

Praying the psalms is so helpful to the one who longs to bring before God the genuine heart cries evoked by real life. In this psalm we see many such longings: to put our trust in the Living God, who doesn’t put us to shame and doesn’t allow our human, cultural or demonic enemies to rot our soul with their influence. Out of such protection this psalm prays for direction from the Lord…show me, teach me and guide me in your truth and then toward the pathway of hope, mercy and love given to me. And, this psalm is a prayerful remembrance of all that God has done in the past to heal, redeem, forgive, provide and protect. The latter part of the psalm is a plea for grace and relief from the pangs of this world and for God to be the one to guard, rescue and protect our integrity. Praying this psalm allows the believer to put everything out on the table with earnestness and authenticity. May this be so for your prayers as well.

Today…

Join the psalmist with your own intercession for a trusting, protective, empowering life in, through and with God, the lover of your hope-filled soul. (Psalm 25)

In you, Lord my God, I put my trust

I trust in you;
do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who hopes in you
will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
who are treacherous without cause.

Show me your ways, 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, Lord, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
for you, Lord, are good.

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
toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.
For the sake of your name, Lord,
forgive my iniquity, though it is great.

Who, then, are those who fear the Lord?
He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.
They will spend their days in prosperity,
and their descendants will inherit the land.
The Lord confides in those who fear him;
he makes his covenant known 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.
Relieve the troubles of my heart
and free me from my anguish.
Look on my affliction and my distress
and take away all my sins.
See how numerous are my enemies
and how fiercely they hate me!

Guard my life and rescue me;
do not let me be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness protect me,
because my hope, Lord,is in you.

Deliver Israel, O God,
from all their troubles!

Behold the splendor of the Lord – Believe the promises of his love – Belong to those who unreservedly trust him – Become prayerful in all you are and do.

 

 



Praying Biblical Prayers (#20) – Psalm 23 – You, Lord, are my Shepherd

praying hands

 

Throughout this series we have joined some of our favorite biblical characters in the prayers they once prayed and which God has preserved for us in the Scriptures. As you ponder the variety of prayers from the Great Prayer Book, the Psalms, be enveloped by each word as if it was written directly to and for you…because in fact they were and are a gift from God for you. Praying the Scriptures in this way will bring health and vitality to your heart and soul, and great liberty to your life of prayer.

~~

By far the most popular of all the psalms, Psalm 23 has been memorized by children and adults for hundreds of years. Often recited at the time of loss and grief over the departure of a loved one, this psalm has provided comfort and hope for generations of believers worldwide. At its core, Psalm 23 is the Shepherd’s psalm, written by David during his old age, reminiscent of his years as a shepherd boy and analogous to the Good Shepherd of his soul, the Lord himself. When Jesus comes into this world, he references the importance of the role of Shepherd (John 10), noting himself as Shepherd who knows all the sheep intimately by name and who is in contrast to the wolves of this age who taunt, trick and tire out the sheep within the sheepfold. Listen to the Good Shepherd in this psalm and be comforted and refreshed by the whispering presence of his loving concern for you…for you to be without want, to be held down in green pastures, to be led by quiet waters, to be restored in your soul, to be led down paths of righteousness, and to be present with him forevermore.

Today…

As you are comforted by the provision and protection of the Good Shepherd, pledge your heart to His and be drawn back into the safety of the sheepfold forevermore. (Psalm 23)

 

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,  he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

Behold the splendor of the Lord – Believe the promises of his love – Belong to those who unreservedly trust him – Become prayerful in all you are and do.

 

 



Praying Biblical Prayers (#19) – Psalm 16 – You make known to me the path of life

 

praying hands

 

Throughout this series we have joined some of our favorite biblical characters in the prayers they once prayed and which God has preserved for us in the Scriptures. As you ponder the variety of prayers from the Great Prayer Book, the Psalms, be enveloped by each word as if it was written directly to and for you…because in fact they were and are a gift from God for you. Praying the Scriptures in this way will bring health and vitality to your heart and soul, and great liberty to your life of prayer.

~~

Psalm 16 is often described as the “golden psalm” or “David’s jewel” as it’s understood to be a Messianic psalm, speaking of the coming of Christ and his ministry of deliverance and direction. It’s the psalm chosen as the thematic psalm for my book, Crafting a Rule of Life, acknowledging that the Lord is the One in whom we take refuge, the One who is our delight, the One who is our daily portion and cup, the One who counsels and instructs us, and the One who holds us eternally secure.  It’s the Lord Jesus who makes the way for us to walk along our own “path of life” both now and forevermore, and the One to whom we listen attentively as we journey through this life and into the next. Therefore, our hearts rejoice in his presence and our joy will be found in the Lord alone both now and forevermore. It’s a fabulous psalm and one worthy of our prayerful reflection.

Today…

As you give thanks to the Lord for the provision of his Son Jesus as your refuge and redeemer, offer your true self into the fullness of his will as you walk the path of life created just for you.  (Psalm 16)

Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”
I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithfulone see decay.
 You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Behold the splendor of the Lord – Believe the promises of his love – Belong to those who unreservedly trust him – Become prayerful in all you are and do.

 



Praying Biblical Prayers (#18) – Psalm 8 – Who am I that you are mindful of me?

 

praying hands

Throughout this series we have joined some of our favorite biblical characters in the prayers they once prayed and which God has preserved for us in the Scriptures. As you ponder the variety of prayers from the Great Prayer Book, the Psalms, be enveloped by each word as if it was written directly to and for you…because in fact they were and are a gift from God for you. Praying the Scriptures in this way will bring health and vitality to your heart and soul, and great liberty to your life of prayer.

 

~~

Psalm 8 declares the majesty of the Lord, who set his glory in the heavens, the work of his fingers, the moon and the stars hand-picked and placed according to his will. So who are we in contrast, also created beings, but much lower in stature than the angels who are crowned with glory and honor? The psalm reminds us: God is very mindful of us human beings. Just like the mood and stars have perfect placement, so we too have a divine destiny…to rule over the works of God’s hands.

 

Today…

 

As you sit with this psalm and reflect on the mindfulness of God toward you, his beloved child, let your heart swell with thanksgiving and praise. (Psalm 8)

 

Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

 Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

 

 

 

Behold the splendor of the Lord – Believe the promises of his love – Belong to those who unreservedly trust him – Become prayerful in all you are and do.

 



Praying Biblical Prayers (#17) – Psalm 1; 19; 119 – Blessed is the one who delights in the law of the Lord

praying hands

 

Throughout this series we have joined some of our favorite biblical characters in the prayers they once prayed and which God has preserved for us in the Scriptures. As you ponder the variety of prayers from the Great Prayer Book, the Psalms, be enveloped by each word as if it was written directly to and for you…because in fact they were and are a gift from God for you. Praying the Scriptures in this way will bring health and vitality to your heart and soul, and great liberty to your life of prayer.

 

~~

Psalm 1 is the opening act to the dramatic portrayal of the human heart in dire need of God as portrayed throughout the psalter. The psalmist reminds us that without a pure delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night, we will be easily swayed in the direction of the wicked, sinners, and company of mockers. Psalms 19 and 119 are additional readings for reflection that reinforce the centrality of the Word of God in our personal spiritual formation.

 

Today…

 

Join the psalmist in pledging your heart to be like a tree planted firmly by a stream of living water, delighting in the law of the Lord (Psalm 1)

 

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.

Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

 

 

Behold the splendor of the Lord – Believe the promises of his love – Belong to those who unreservedly trust him – Become prayerful in all you are and do.

 



Praying Biblical Prayers – 16. Revelation of John – Part Two

praying hands

 

What would it look like for you to join some of your favorite biblical characters in the prayers they once prayed and which God has preserved for us in the Scriptures? As you ponder the great prayers of God’s people, give yourself permission to personalize the words and make them your own prayer too. For example, when Moses prayed very simply “If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you” (Exodus 33:13), simply join Moses and pray for God’s favor over your own life today. Praying the Scriptures in this way will bring health and vitality to your heart and soul.

 

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As the Revelation to John continues to be revealed by the angel sent from God, there are marvelous prayers offered within the text which come from the prophets and the psalms. These are wonderfully refreshing to believers of all generations, as we construct our own prayer templates for praising, honoring and glorifying God.

 

Today…

 

Join John the Apostle as he records for us the prayerful words of Scripture and then sing these songs of praise in your heart back to the Lord in prayer. (Rev. 15, 19)

 

“Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the nations. Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.” (Rev. 15: 3,4)

 

“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants. And again they shouted: Hallelujah! Amen, Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.” (Rev. 19: 1-8)

 

 

Behold the splendor of the Lord – Believe the promises of his love – Belong to those who unreservedly trust him – Become prayerful in all you are and do.

 

 



Praying Biblical Prayers – 15. Revelation of John – Part One

praying hands

 

What would it look like for you to join some of your favorite biblical characters in the prayers they once prayed and which God has preserved for us in the Scriptures? As you ponder the great prayers of God’s people, give yourself permission to personalize the words and make them your own prayer too. For example, when Moses prayed very simply “If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you” (Exodus 33:13), simply join Moses and pray for God’s favor over your own life today. Praying the Scriptures in this way will bring health and vitality to your heart and soul.

 

~~

The revelation from Jesus Christ was made known by God through the sending of an angel to his servant John, who testified to everything he saw. The Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ blessed John and all who heard with their hearts the proclamation of the glory of God. Let’s recount together some of the great prayers of praise to Almighty God recorded for us in the book of Revelation.

 

Today…

 

Join John the Apostle in praise to the Lord God Almighty. Let these words refresh and renew you, washing over your soul with grace and tenderness, joy and delight. (Revelation 4: 8, 11; 5: 9, 10, 12, 13)

 

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” (4:8)

 

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” (4:11)

 

“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” (5: 9,10)

 

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” (5:11)

 

“Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (5:12,13)

 

“Amen!”

 

 

Behold the splendor of the Lord – Believe the promises of his love – Belong to those who unreservedly trust him – Become prayerful in all you are and do.