While traveling on an airplane with her 4- and 2-year-old daughters, a young mom worked at keeping them busy so they wouldn’t disturb others. When the pilot’s voice came over the intercom for an announcement, Catherine, the younger girl, paused from her activities and put her head down. When the pilot finished, she whispered, “Amen.” Perhaps because there had been a recent natural disaster, she thought the pilot was praying.
Like that little girl, I want a heart that turns my thoughts toward prayer quickly. I think it would be fair to say that the psalmist David had that kind of heart. We get hints of that in Psalm 27 as he speaks of facing difficult foes (v.2). He said, “Your face, Lord, I will seek” (v.8). Some say that David was remembering the time he was fleeing from Saul (1 Sam. 21:10) or from his son Absalom (2 Sam. 15:13-14) when he wrote this psalm. Prayer and dependence on God were in the forefront of David’s thinking, and he found Him to be his sanctuary (Ps. 27:4-5).
We need a sanctuary as well. Perhaps reading or praying this psalm and others could help us to develop that closeness to our Father-God. As God becomes our sanctuary, we’ll more readily turn our hearts toward Him in prayer.
Teach me, Father, what it means to run to and have You as my sanctuary. Help me not to worry about the words I say, but just to express my heart to You and to nestle down close to You.
In prayer, God can still our hearts and quiet our minds.
Many of the psalms are prayers to God, and many are songs to encourage others concerning the goodness and love of God. Today's psalm contains both elements. While David cries out to God for guidance and protection in verses 7-13, he ends his psalm with a message to the reader (v.14). Taking the lessons and thoughts expressed in his prayer, David encourages the reader to trust the Lord and wait upon Him as he has done.
When Jenny’s husband left her for another woman, she vowed that she would never meet his new wife. But when she realized that her bitterness was damaging her children’s relationship with their father, she asked for God’s help to take the first steps toward overcoming bitterness in a situation she couldn’t change.
In Genesis 16, we read the story of a couple to whom God promised a baby. When Sarai suggested that her husband Abram have a child with their servant Hagar, she wasn’t fully trusting God for the child He had promised. When the baby was born, Hagar despised Sarai (Gen. 16:3-4), and Sarai became bitter (vv.5-6).
Hagar had been the slave with no rights and suddenly she was special. How did Sarai react? By blaming others, including Abram (v.5). God’s promise was realized in the birth of Isaac 14 years later. Even his weaning celebration was spoiled by Sarai’s attitude (21:8-10).
It may never have been easy for Sarai to have lived with the consequences of their decision to go ahead of God. It may have taken a miracle of grace to change her attitude but that could have transformed everything. Sarai couldn’t reverse the decision, but through God’s strength, she could have lived with it differently, and given God the glory.
Thank You, Lord, that though our situations may not change, Your grace is strong enough to change us in our situations. Help us as we struggle sometimes to live in this sinful world.
By God’s grace, we can reflect His light in the dark times.
Charles Wesley (1707–1788) was a Methodist evangelist who wrote more than 9,000 hymns and sacred poems. Some, like “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing,” are great, soaring hymns of praise. But his poem “Gentle Jesus, Meek and Mild,” first published in 1742, is a child’s quiet prayer that captures the essence of how all of us should seek the Lord in sincere, simple faith.
Loving Jesus, gentle Lamb,
In Thy gracious hands I am;
Make me, Savior, what Thou art,
Live Thyself within my heart.
When some followers of Jesus were jockeying for position in His kingdom, the Lord “called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven’” (Matt. 18:2-3).
Not many children seek position or power. Instead, they want acceptance and security. They cling to the adults who love and care for them. Jesus never turned children away.
The last stanza of Wesley’s poem shows a childlike desire to be just like Jesus: “I shall then show forth Thy praise / Serve Thee all my happy days; / Then the world shall always see / Christ, the holy Child, in me.”
Father, give me the faith of a little child. I want to know Your love and care, and to rest in Your embrace. Grant my desire to be like You in all my ways that I might live for Your honor.
Faith shines brightest in a childlike heart.
Jesus’ warning in Matthew 18:6 would have been received with the weight it deserved. The ancient Hebrews viewed the sea as a place of danger and chaos. As a result, there were few things more feared than death by drowning, the picture Jesus painted here.