I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall laud your works to another and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. The might of your awesome deeds shall be proclaimed, and I will declare your greatness. They shall celebrate the fame of your abundant goodness, and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. Psalm 145:1-7
The Psalmist has it right. We are to tell others of the greatness of the Lord as much as we are to meditate upon God’s word. We are to extol the glories of creation as we ponder the scriptures. We are to be outward in our praise of God, as we are inward with our thoughts.
Meditation on the word is just as important as our outward praise of God for meditating upon the word is a way of internalizing rather than memorizing scripture.
If you truly want to know God, if you really want to grow in your spiritual life, meditate. Take a passage, read it and then spend time in quiet, rather than reading it quickly to get the daily reading in. Take a few verses of a favorite psalm as your breath prayer (one line while breathing in, one line while breathing out) and it will instantly calm your spirit. Read a complex passage slowly and deliberately and allow time for more than the words on the page.
Meditating on the word can be one of the healthiest things we can do for our body, mind and spirit. As you travel through this Lenten season, meditate. Allow the Holy Spirit to bring the word into your heart.
This Wednesday is the first day of the Lenten season. For the next few Mondays I am going to focus each meditation on a classic spiritual discipline. Today is prayer.
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.2 Chronicles 7:14
Our lands need healing. Our nation needs healing with all the political, racial and social division. Our local communities need healing with all the violence. This past weekend there was another murder in Philadelphia, another act of senseless violence. The world also needs prayer. We are fast approaching the one-year anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine, and the death toll from the earthquakes in Syria and Turkey has surpassed 46,000 lost.
On the surface this is hardly an uplifting morning meditation and yet it can be. We can make a difference when we turn to God in prayer. I am not suggesting the empty “Thoughts and Prayers” statement, rather true prayer, going before the Sovereign of the Universe asking for help because prayer works; “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16).”
Through prayer we are changed, we are inspired, we are given ways to make changes in the world. As we join together in prayer, God will show us the path forward. If we have the courage to act, God will do incredible things.
My original plan for today’s meditation was going to be light as we celebrated an Eagles victory at the Super Bowl. Well, so much for that plan. All of the Eagles Universe is unhappy this morning. Perhaps later on we can say how much we appreciated the season, we can be reminded that only two teams make it to the big game and ours was one of them, and even celebrate the good things. But for today, Eagles fans are unhappy.
So let’s get theological on this Monday morning. The Eagles may have lost, but things are okay. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good (Genesis 1:31). You may be dragging this morning, but God’s creation is still very good. Your Kansas City fan friends might be chiding you, but God’s creation is still very good.
Things do not always go as we want, games will be won and lost, jobs will have good and bad days, relationships have their ups and downs, but one thing is constant, God, and God loves you. As you travel through this difficult day and new week, remember this: God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. You were made by God and therefore, you are very good.
A man brought his son to Jesus to be delivered. The boy has been tormented by a spirit his entire life, and his father was at his wit’s end when Jesus appears and the father asks if Jesus is able to heal his son.
Jesus said to him, “If you are able! — All things can be done for the one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
Faith isn’t easy. Faith is not just a belief that everything will work out (even without any evidence). Rather, faith is difficult. It is difficult to say to God “I have complete faith and I turn it all over to you.”
This father sums up a lot of us, especially if we have sick children, spouses or other family members. We spend so much time, energy and resources seeking help, and when things do not work out, we get deflated, just like this father. Our prayers tend to be begging and bargaining “Please Lord heal them” or “Lord, I’ll take the pain, I’ll take the sickness if you heal them.” We pray earnestly and in faith, yet do not always believe.
I believe; help my unbelief. It could be a daily prayer for all of us. Is your job going poorly and you have no idea what to do next? I believe; help my unbelief. Is your relationship in trouble? I believe, help my unbelief. Are you struggling with a personal issue? I believe, help my unbelief. Is your church in need of transformation? I believe, help my unbelief.
God may not give us the complete outcome we desire, but if we pray for greater belief, God will show us the way forward. As you journey through this week, keep this prayer in mind. I believe, help my unbelief.