Seek His Presence
Sometimes (many times) prayer is hard. It often seems complicated — I don’t even know how I should pray. So I’ve found the Psalms to be very helpful. These are songs, but they’re also prayers and many times the psalmist provides the words I can’t find. The Psalms also help me know what I should pray for. Psalm 27 is a good example. It’s a psalm of David and at the heart he says:
One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple. (Ps. 27:4 ESV)
What struck me about this is that it’s said in the context of trusting the Lord in the midst of trouble. David begins by saying “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” He goes on to talk about how even though he is assailed by enemies, he will not be afraid. And then he says that the one thing he seeks is to dwell in the house of the Lord. He doesn’t ask God to take away his trials, he simply asks for protection and guidance and to live in the presence of the Lord.
He expresses confidence in God and anticipates praising God for his protection. And he closes with these words:
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord! (Ps. 27:13-14 ESV)
There’s nothing wrong with asking God for deliverance. In other Psalms, that’s what David does, too. But it is always in the context of first seeking to know God, to be in right relationship with him. Then the other things will eventually follow.
(This meditation was a result of watching an excellent video about prayer now in our church’s DVD library and available for checkout: The PAPA Prayer, with Larry Crabb.)