Steve Macchia Blog

Praying Biblical Prayers (#31) – Psalm 100; 150 – Shout for joy – Praise 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.

~~

The psalms are songs of the heart that invite our prayers and provide a guide for the with-God life here on earth. They are filled with authentic language that promote honesty and integrity in the soul of the believer. Several of the psalms are shout-outs for help in time of need, while others are laced with pleas for God’s intervention. Many are reflections of the heart toward repentance, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. All are designed to promote the praise of God’s people no matter what life may deliver on the doorstep of our souls here on earth. Psalms 100 and 150 are declarative of praise and provide for us the language of prayer we can utilize in public and private places where we offer our whole selves into the embracing arms of God. Praise and worship the Lord continuously, in all situations and circumstances of life, and your prayers of praise will delight the heart of the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Today…

Offer your praise to the Lord with gladness of heart. Come to God with your shouts of joy. His greatness and faithfulness is worthy of your adoration. Praise him for who He is and give thanks for as many of his attributes as possible. No power on earth surpasses his mighty deeds. He alone is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Praise the Lord. Alleluia! (Psalms 100 and 150)

Psalm 100

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 150

Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

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 (#30) – Psalm 139 – How precious to me are your thoughts

 

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.

~~

The great “omni” Psalm 139 is a powerful declaration of God’s omniscience (He is all knowing), omnipresence (He is ever present), and omnipotence (He is all powerful). Verses 1-6 declare his intimate knowledge of you – knowing where you sit and rise, your thoughts and actions, he is familiar with all your ways, and is protective and caring beyond comprehension. Verses 7-12 remind you that he’s with you everywhere – in this present world and in heaven for all eternity, and will offer his hand to guide you in darkness and in light. Verses 13-18 are demonstrative of his creative love for you – from the time you were in your mother’s womb where he knit you together and created your inmost being. All of this is worthy of your praise and adoration, for you are fearfully and wonderfully made and you are precious in his eyes…the vastness of his thoughts of you outnumber the grains of sand along the ocean’s edge. Praise the all-knowing, ever-present, all-powerful God.

Today…

Invite the Lord to search and know your heart, test your allegiance to him and quiet your anxious and fearful thoughts. And, if there is anything offensive to God in your heart, ask him to forgive you, remove it completely, and lead you in the everlasting way. Trust the One who knows you intimately to display his presence and power in and through you, for His glory, now and always. Amen and Amen. (Psalm 139)

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

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 (#29) – Psalm 121 – I lift up my eyes to the hills

 

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.

~~

In times of need, both great and small, where do you look for help? Do you “google” your answers and seek the wisdom and aid of human sources, or do you look to God alone?  In prayer, we are learning to focus our gaze upward to the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth, and the intimate Author of our lives. In this psalm of ascent – one of the 15 in the psalter (120-134) which were songs the people of Israel would recite together as they ascended the road to Jerusalem during special holy days – we find a wonderful focus on the Lord’s protection over his beloved family. Imagine hearing the elders recite with boldness this amazing declaration, inviting their fellow pilgrims to sing along with gusto, “My help comes from the Lord.”  This proclamation is a reminder that no matter what this life delivers into our hands to steward, the Lord will help us, and our feet will not slip…he will watch over us, and keep us from all harm. In all our comings and goings, it’s the Lord who will be ever present to guide, protect, and sustain. On that truth you can put your wholehearted trust.

Today…

Make this psalm your prayerful focus and declare your allegiance to the Lord. Lift up your eyes to the mountains before you and know that the Lord is by your side to guide, help, and watch over you. Offer your fears to the One who will protect your life day and night, keeping you from all harm both now and forevermore. (Psalm 121)

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;

 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

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 (#28) – Psalm 103 – Forget not all his benefits

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.

~~

What is it about your relationship with the Lord that evokes your praise? If you were to sit and offer prayers of praise to God, what would be on your heart and lips? In this great psalm, David sings his praise to the Triune God, celebrating the many gifts God has provided with abundant generosity. His soul is filled to overflowing with praise from his inmost being. He calls out these many gifts as benefits, and his offering of praise is so the profits for his soul are never forgotten. He cites them as forgiveness, healing, redemption, love, compassion, satisfaction, righteousness, justice, graciousness, and love. Can you embrace these words as an embodiment of your own offerings of praise and thanksgiving? If so, then let the praise flow freely from the depth of your being and sing your prayer of joy to the Lord for offering these plentiful gifts to you each and every day of your life.

Today…

May your prayer be one of praise! Follow the outline offered by the psalmist and shout aloud your own offering of gratitude to the Lord for the many benefits he showers upon all who call upon his name with reverence, beauty and joyful delight.  Flourish today in God’s beneficial love and compassionate grace. (Psalm 103)

Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.

The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.

Praise the Lord, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

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 (#27) – Psalm 84 – Better is one day in your house

 

 

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.

~~

Where does your heart dwell most frequently in a typical day? Are you focused on remaining in a posture that leans toward God continually, day and night? Or, do you find yourself wandering away from the presence of God, lured into places where you don’t belong? It’s easy to forget the best location for the sake of our heart and soul, and let the influence of the world penetrate the very spaces where God alone seeks to reside.  When we become soul lazy we tend to allow attitudes and their accompanying words fester and emerge…or, worse yet, we let them become actions that do not befit the follower of Christ. In Psalm 84, we are reminded that the best place for our soul is the dwelling place of God, the very court of the Lord, a home, a nest, a place near the altar, the safe and anointed house of God. it’s the opposite of the tent of the wicked, and it’s the most inviting place of loveliness for our soul to yearn for this side of heaven.

Today…

Join the psalmist in a pilgrimage of the heart and soul directly into the presence of the Lord. Find your rest, your intentionality, your place near the altar, so that the Lord Almighty, your King and your God may bless you for praising him and grant you the strength you need for the day’s journey. Make this your prayer too. (Psalm 84)

How lovely is your dwelling place,
Lord Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.

 Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty;
listen to me, God of Jacob.
 Look on our shield, O God;
look with favor on your anointed one.

Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.

Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.

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 (#26) – Psalm 63 – On my bed I remember 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.

~~

Our earnest thirsting and longing for God, amidst the dry and parched landscape of this life, is the geography we must traverse if we’re going to experience an abundant life with God. What is it you desire most in this life? Are your pursuits toward money, sex and power, or instead to behold the power and glory of God? Each time you see beauty in the sanctuaries of this earth, let your heart cry out with delight. Praise the Lord, for his love is better than life. And that love has been displayed before us in the radiant colors of his creation, in the enjoyment of fellowship with his people, in the splendor of worship in our communities of faith, and in the witness we offer to the world in Jesus’ name.  Let your arms be raised in praise and your lips rejoice with singing as you experience firsthand the majesty and glory of God. His desire is for us to have open eyes, ears and hearts that readily receive all that God delights to offer those whom he loves with an infinite, matchless love.

Today…

Speak forth what your soul earnestly hungers for and let your whole being give witness to the praise and glory of God. Because the Lord is, was and will be your help, remember him in the light of day and through the watches of the night. Give thanks to the Lord, and as you glorify him with your lips and your life, trust him prayerfully with your entire being. (Psalm 63)

You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched 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.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.

Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.

Those who want to kill me will be destroyed;
they will go down to the depths of the earth.
They will be given over to the sword
and become food for jackals.

But the king will rejoice in God;
all who swear by God will glory in him,
while the mouths of liars will be silenced.

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 (#25) – Psalm 62 – My soul finds rest in God alone

 

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 62 begins with seven words that will change your life: “Truly my soul finds rest in God.”  Memorize them and breathe them as a prayer throughout your day. When work or school, family or friends, accomplishments or success, or even sadness or shame, seek to reign over your heart and pull you away from true, everlasting peace…remember that only God can offer deep and abiding rest. It’s only in God, our rock and our salvation, where we will discover our eternal hope and our reward. We so often look over our shoulder in the direction of others’ plenty, and their delight becomes our comparative want. We lean away from the gospel truth and find ourselves on the tottering fence of jealous contempt. Instead, when we keep our eyes on the living God, trusting in him at all times, and pouring out our hearts to the One who matters most, we will truly find rest for our soul.

Today…

Join the psalmist in declaring your wholehearted trust in God and desire nothing less than the unfailing love only he can provide. With honest confession, give voice to your temptation to trust in the things of this world more than the one thing that matters most: finding our truest rest in God alone. (Psalm 62)

Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

How long will you assault me?
Would all of you throw me down—
this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
 Surely they intend to topple me
from my lofty place;
they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
but in their hearts they curse.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
 Truly he 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, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.

Surely the lowborn are but a breath,
the highborn are but a lie.
If weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
together they are only a breath.
Do not trust in extortion
or put vain hope in stolen goods;
though your riches increase,
do not set your heart on them.

 One thing God has spoken,
two things I have heard:
“Power belongs to you, God,
and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”;
and, “You reward everyone
according to what they have done.”

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 (#24) – Psalm 51 – Create in me a pure heart

 

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.

~~

On the heels of David’s great season of sinfulness – lusting after Bathsheba, committing adultery, seeking to hide his sin, even setting up the death of his faithful soldier Uriah (Bathsheba’s husband), and then lying about it all – Nathan the prophet confronts King David and he finally comes clean of his sinfulness. In psalm 51 we witness the pouring out of his heart before God in full confession and with an earnest desire for cleansing, forgiveness and full restoration. It’s one of the most beautiful psalms in the entire psalter, rich with poetic language of prayerful submission before Almighty God. Even though the sin was against a woman, her husband, and his earthly dynasty, David cries out to God for forgiveness, for its primarily against God that he sinned the most. All others are victims of his sinfulness. Notice in this prayer the words that leap off the page and penetrate your own heart, then use those words and phrases to confess your own propensity to sin (even the specificity and particularity of your sins) and watch how the God of love and forgiveness wipes away your iniquity.

Today…

Join King David in acknowledging your sin(s) before and toward God, and plead for his mercy, cleansing and grace. Invite joy, gladness, and a steadfast spirit to sustain you, as your broken and contrite heart is joyfully renewed and restored from the inside out. (Psalm 51)

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
My sacrifice, O God, isa broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.

May it please you to prosper Zion,
to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
in burnt offerings offered whole;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.

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.