The weariness of prayer

I am weary. I am distracted. My spirit is willing, but my mind and body are weak. I am spiritually lethargic. The fellowship of my spiritual brothers and sisters alone carry the passions of my soul, yet alone I find myself dragging my spiritual feet in the dirt of dreariness.

The opening of one of David’s psalms (Psalm 6) reads:

O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath.
Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing;
heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled.
But you, O LORD—how long?

Psalm 6:1~3 (ESV)

As I read this psalm, it does not stir anything in my spirit, but it is my prayer. It is the prayer of my heart to rediscover the amazing grace of God for myself; to find once again the deep and personal love that fan the passions of my heart. May God be ever so gracious with me as I wander through this wilderness searching after Him only by the urging of His loving Spirit.

If you find yourself wandering through a dry time, do not despair. God is faithful, even when we are not. God is gracious, even when we deserve otherwise. God is merciful, even when discipline is needed. I fully expect God to deal with me as I need, if He needs to break me then let it be done for His glory’s sake. Yet, I know He will deliver me for the sake of His steadfast love (see the rest of David’s psalm).

Do you struggle with prayer? I do, but I will yet trust in Him and He will hear my plea. His love is steadfast, His path is firm, and His promises will never fail. No matter how you feel, may you choose to continue walking to Him, whether you crawl or drag your feet, persevere and keep your eyes on Him. May the Spirit continue to urge you, to call you, to woo you deep into the love of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Parenting Confession: a moment of frustration

It’s happened. I’ve felt like shaking my baby to silence it. I’ve wanted to throw him against the wall because I’ve had enough. I’m frustrated, angry, and worst of all, defeated. I feel disempowered, ill-equipped, and unable to be the father I want to be.
Joseph sleeping on my lap.
For those of you who are not parents, let me say: nothing prepares you for parenthood. No amount of parenting courses, advice, or counsel prepares you for the physical, emotional, mental, and even, spiritual toll a newborn child brings. That said, it is the most rewarding and amazing experience I am yet to know, most of the time.

It is this momentary lapse of sleep deprivation and everyday stresses of life (because they don’t stop) that brings you to a point of brokenness and despair. There are two ways out, both on your knees. Both recognise the weakness and struggle, however, one leaves you with hope to continue on, the other leaves you growing with fear and anxiety.

You can choose to give in to your fear and anxiety, growing darker and looming larger over the struggle you face. Or, you can choose to fall on your knees and look to heaven, where Almighty God, our Heavenly Father watches and waits for us to surrender our fears and anxieties to Him. In these moments, prayer becomes a very real reality.

Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer;
from the end of the earth I call to you
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I,
for you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.

Psalm 61:1-3 (ESV)

This is but one example from the psalms of our freedom and access to the throne room of God. As the psalmist writes, God is our refuge and strong tower in whom we can trust and strength against the battles we face. No matter what life may bring, whether it be a newborn child, the loss of a job, or the struggles of a relationship, God is our fortress and foundation.

Psalms: Blessings renown

Cover to Cover

Reading: Psalms 66-69

Focus: Psalm 67

In Jewish theology, there is an aspect of their understanding of God’s blessing which is fascinating. However, even in Jewish thought, blessings are often seen as God’s gift and pleasure for the recipients. We are blessed because God sees fit to give us good things or grant us success in life’s endeavours. We praise and thank God for His blessing, but we often miss out on a key aspect regarding blessings reflected in Jewish theology (which should be ours, also).

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Psalms: You are worthy!

Cover to Cover

Reading: Psalms 58-65

Focus: Psalm 65

So often, it is easy for us to get lost in our situation and lose sight of things which are more important. Especially when things are difficult, when life seems dry, it is in these moments where it seems difficult to look outside our circumstances. However, despite how we feel, it does not change the fact of the matter: God is worthy of praise. It is during these times when worship is most difficult, yet it is when we find ourselves recognising the magnificence of God that we begin to rise above our circumstances.

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Psalms: leave it to me!

Cover to Cover

Reading: Psalms 51-57

Focus: Psalm 55

The psalms are often raw with emotion, honest and open, and simply, human. They don’t pretend as if the world should be perfect; they don’t try and justify God’s actions; rather, they often reflect the reality of the heart, struggling to come to terms with the wickedness which afflicts them, calling out to God as they seek a resolve to their circumstances. However, at the end of all this, they always come back to one place, a place of trust: they trust God, they trust Him with their life.

This psalm (Psalm 55) is one of those psalms. It begins with the plea of David of God to hear his prayers. As David continues, he reveals his struggle and turmoil which is in his heart. He seeks resolve from God, David seeks God to undertake his situation and find an answer. In the end, this is what it all comes down to: “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.”

Regardless of life’s situation, whether it was positive or negative, whether they were finding success or overwhelmed by their enemies—this is what it comes down to, in all things, casting all your cares on the Lord. The psalmists all come back to this point, there is nothing to do but trust God, to cast all our cares upon Him. We can try and rise up in life’s circumstances, through our own strength and ability…but often have we tried and come up short. Or, we can leave it to Him and enjoy the journey ahead. When God says, “Leave it to me!” He means it.

Next Reading: Psalms 58-65

Psalms: praise, praise, praise!

Cover to Cover

Reading: Psalms 45-50

Focus: Psalm 47

One of the curiosities of modern Christianity is the aspect of worship. Indeed, most religions have an aspect of worship, but they are often solemn and reserved. The images often associated with worship are rituals, chants, ceremonies, liturgies, etc. However, worship in the Judeo-Christian movement is marked by something often lacking in other forms of worship. It is marked by praise. Yes, it is filled with awe of the deity, at times even fear, it is filled with recognition of authority and power; but greater than all of these, worship is marked by praise—joyous, elated praise!

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