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

 

 

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.

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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.

 

 

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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is www.SteveMacchia.com.

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.