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19
Nov
2017

Praying God's Word

by Sara Hagerty

In His Word, we have help, especially for the lies many of us have just accepted as part of life. I often find the help I need in the Psalms, which is sometimes called the prayer book of the Bible. The Psalms include prayers that run the gamut of human experience from prayers of thanksgiving and praise to prayers of lament and confession. God gave us these prayers not only to help us express our thoughts and emotions to Him but also to help us hear His truth above the world's chatter. Author and pastor Tim Keller says of the Psalms, "We are not simply to read the Psalms; we are to be immersed in them so that they profoundly shape how we relate to God... [They] are the divinely ordained way to learn devotion to our God." The Psalms demonstrates that we can bring to God all of ourselves – with all of our emotions – and trust that He has the power to change us. 

When I feel helpless and hopeless and alone, I pray, "My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to Your word" (Ps. 119:25). 

When I've messed up big, I pray, "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow" (Ps. 51:7). 

When I'm filled with anxiety, I pray, "In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul" (Ps. 138:3). 

And when I start to feel worthless, unnoticed, and overlooked, I pray, "Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me under the shadow of Your wings" (Ps. 17:8). 

I pray when I feel helpless and hopeless and alone. I choose with my words to lay myself bare before Him instead of standing at a distance from Him and chastising myself for how I've fallen short. My emotions – the ones that a full schedule and an outwardly productive life can help prevent me from feeling – are a road to conversation with God. The hidden places of my heart get exposed and He responds. 

When we let the Psalms or any biblical truth sink into the white spaces in our lives and minds, we are winning one of the most significant battles of our lives. We learn to lean into Him for a win. Our minds are often full of myriad unfettered thoughts, such that there is little room to receive God's thoughts. When those words go beyond falling lightly within our hearing, when we allow them to sink deeply into us – reading, memorizing, speaking, singing, and praying them – we find that our white space expands. "[The Psalms] are written to be prayed, recited, and sung," Keller writes, "to be done, not merely to be read." We work less to crowd out the noise in our minds and realize that the white spaces aren't the empty times of our day or vacant parts of our mind waiting to be stuffed. They are pregnant, full in themselves. And expansive. 

At the break of day, noon, night, and a dozen times in between, God's Word is your ally. Read it. Say it. Sing it. To live and thrive in God amid all the competing noise and voices of this age, we have to engage with His Word. Not just once a day or once every few days. We can't live without this Word. 

So we lean into God, in hiding. We lean into Him in the late afternoon we see the sun illuminate the dust on our coffee tables, speaking of the Word of God against the lies that have been infecting our day. We lean into Him on the Saturday without any plans, asking Him to speak into the void and remind us that there is no void in God. 

The Word of God is powerful against our internal traffic. It pierces through our souls, even to the parts of us we've hidden from ourselves. It reaches into our spirits with His spirit, breathing life as He moves in. It replaces the internal chatter of life – the criticisms, the comparisons, and the shoulds – with the truth of what God sees and thinks and feels. And that's a beautiful sound.

 

Sara Hagerty appears this Tuesday on LIFE TODAY. Adapted from Unseen by Sara Hagerty. Copyright ©2017 by Sara Hagerty. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com. All rights reserved.