Humility in Prayer

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Reading: Psalm 119:153-160
ר Resh
Look on my suffering and deliver me,
for I have not forgotten your law.
Defend my cause and redeem me;
preserve my life according to your promise.
Salvation is far from the wicked,
for they do not seek out your decrees.
Your compassion, LORD, is great;
preserve my life according to your laws.
Many are the foes who persecute me,
but I have not turned from your statutes.
I look on the faithless with loathing,
for they do not obey your word.
See how I love your precepts;
preserve my life, LORD, in accordance with your love.
All your words are true;
all your righteous laws are eternal (NIV). *

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Humbled before an awesome God — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
As we draw near to the end of Psalm 119, I have a confession to make. Though in general, I love the Book of Psalms, Psalm 119 did not rank high in my affections. Though my views have changed, please bear with me now as I attempt to describe why at first, I disliked some aspects this Psalm.

In my opinion the author of this psalm spends too much time posturing. He continually reminds God how good he is and how disgusting others are. Statements like this one set my teeth on edge: I look on the faithless with loathing, for they do not obey your word. See how I love your precepts; preserve my life, LORD, in accordance with your love.

Words like these remind me of the Pharisee bragging in the temple while the tax collector humbly calls out to God for mercy. Jesus concludes that the tax collector “went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Luke 18:14). I’m left wondering, how did the author of Psalm 119 return home? Was his prayer heard and accepted by the LORD?

The answer must be a resounding yes. Psalm 119 would not be in our Bible’s if it was not the divinely inspired word of God. So, this question remains. How does the psalmist get away with using the sort of comparison that drew Jesus’ condemnation in his description of the Pharisee and the tax collector?

I believe the answer lies in posture. Psalm 119 is best prayed from a kneeling position. The psalmist is humbly—even desperately—calling out to God. The posture we assume influences the prayers we pray.

Response: Father God, teach me how to pray with a humble heart. Any righteousness or goodness I have comes from you. I will brag about your goodness and unfailing love for me. You are true. Amen.

Your Turn: What posture do you assume when you pray? How does your posture reflect your heart?

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

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Please pray for the people of Ukraine!

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer won the Best Book of the Year Award from The Word Guild, and Volume II has won the Best Devotional of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, this three-book series is an ideal way to daily meet with the Lord. To purchase or for a closer look click here.

Lift up the Cup

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I will praise the LORD!

a person holding a chalice

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Reading: Psalm 116:12-14
What shall I return to the LORD
for all his goodness to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
    and call on the name of the LORD.
I will fulfill my vows to the LORD
    in the presence of all his people.

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Please pray for the people of Ukraine!

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer won the Best Book of the Year Award from The Word Guild and Volume II has won the Best Devotional of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, this three-book series is an ideal way to daily meet with the Lord. To purchase or for a closer look click here.

In the Land of the Living

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I will praise the LORD!

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Reading: Psalm 116:5-9
The LORD is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
The LORD protects the unwary;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return to your rest, my soul,
    for the LORD has been good to you.
   For you, LORD, have delivered me from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the LORD
in the land of the living.

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Please pray for the people of Ukraine!

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer won the Best Book of the Year Award from The Word Guild and Volume II has won the Best Devotional of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, this three-book series is an ideal way to daily meet with the Lord. To purchase or for a closer look click here.

Focused Attention

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Today’s quote and prayer from
“Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer”
by David Kitz.

Psalm 119_147
Reading: Psalm 119:145-152

LORD God,
with all the distractions around me,
I want to get in the habit
of meditating on your word.
Help me to focus my attention
and thoughts on your promises.
You are good to me.
Amen.

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Please pray for the people of Ukraine!

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer won the Best Book of the Year Award from The Word Guild, and Volume II has won the Best Devotional of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, this three-book series is an ideal way to daily meet with the Lord. To purchase or for a closer look click here. 

Have You Taken up Meditation?

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Reading: Psalm 119:145-152
ק Qoph
I call with all my heart; answer me, LORD,
and I will obey your decrees.
I call out to you; save me
and I will keep your statutes.
 I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I have put my hope in your word.
My eyes stay open through the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on your promises.
 Hear my voice in accordance with your love;
preserve my life, L
ORD, according to your laws.
Those who devise wicked schemes are near,
but they are far from your law.
 Yet you are near, L
ORD,
and all your commands are true.
 Long ago I learned from your statutes
that you established them to last forever
(NIV). *

man wearing black cap with eyes closed under cloudy sky

Photo by Kelvin Valerio on Pexels.com

Reflection
Meditation. It seems everyone is doing it. Have you taken up meditation? Even the Bible encourages us to meditate.

Ah, but there are some fundamental differences between transcendental meditation and the meditation that is described in the Bible. Eastern meditation, which springs from the Hindu religion, calls on the practitioner to relax and empty his or her mind.

Biblical meditation is not an emptying of the mind, or a disengagement with the thought process. Instead, it is active, concentrated thought on a topic, word or Bible verse. On an intellectual level, it has been compared to rumination—a cow chewing her cud. It involves getting the most out of what God has said—digesting His word—so it is fully incorporated into the life of the believer.

Today’s reading sheds light on the psalmist’s practice of biblical meditation: I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word. My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.

The psalmist is thoroughly engaged with God. He is crying out to Him. He is focused on the word of God and His promises: I have put my hope in your word.

In the rush of life, do we stop and meditate on God’s word? Is Bible reading just a box to check off as we speed through our day? It’s the LORD who calls us aside to spend time with Him.

Response: LORD God, with all the distractions around me, I want to get in the habit of meditating on your word. Help me to focus my attention and thoughts on your promises. You are good to me. Amen.

Your Turn: Are you easily distracted from God’s word? Do you take it with you through the day?

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

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Please pray for the people of Ukraine!

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer won the Best Book of the Year Award from The Word Guild, and Volume II has won the Best Devotional of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, this three-book series is an ideal way to daily meet with the Lord. To purchase or for a closer look click here. 

God’s Word and His Promises

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Today’s quote and prayer from
“Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer”
by David Kitz.

Psalm 119_137-144 Road Tested
Reading: Psalm 119:137-144

Father God,
your word and your promises stand true for all eternity.
Help me to believe and live each day
through the wise application of your word.
Give me understanding that I may live.
Amen.

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Please pray for the people of Ukraine!

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer won the Best Book of the Year Award from The Word Guild, and Volume II has won the Best Devotional of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, this three-book series is an ideal way to daily meet with the Lord. To purchase or for a closer look click here. 

Road Tested

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Reading: Psalm 119:137-144
צ Tsadhe
You are righteous, LORD,
and your laws are right.
The statutes you have laid down are righteous;
they are fully trustworthy.
 My zeal wears me out,
for my enemies ignore your words.
 Your promises have been thoroughly tested,
and your servant loves them.
Though I am lowly and despised,
I do not forget your precepts.
Your righteousness is everlasting
and your law is true.
Trouble and distress have come upon me,
but your commands give me delight.
Your statutes are always righteous;
give me understanding that I may live
(NIV). *

smoke coming from the exhaust pipes

Photo by Khunkorn Laowisit on Pexels.com

Reflection
Back in the spring of 2015, my son bought his first new car. He was understandably proud of his purchase. The vehicle boasted great handling, exceptional fuel economy and almost zero harmful emissions. What’s not to like about a diesel-powered car like that? Volkswagen engineering was ranked among the best in the world.

Less than a year later, the illusion of zero harmful emissions came crashing down. Volkswagen had installed specially designed software to make sure its vehicles passed emissions tests, but real world, on-the-road results were totally different. The thorough testing that consumers rely on had been subverted.

Fortunately, God’s laws cannot be subverted. Humans may try, but the judge of all the earth knows all; He sees all. We can never pull a fast one on God. Today’s reading from Psalm 119 makes that perfectly clear. You are righteous, LORD, and your laws are right. The statutes you have laid down are righteous; they are fully trustworthy. The psalmist then goes on to make this assertion:  Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them.

God’s word and His promises have been road tested by us, His people. They stand up in real life situations. The Bible—God’s word is designed to be applied. It doesn’t just work in the test lab. It works in the laboratory of life—day-to-day life, where it really counts. That’s why spending time in God’s word is so important. It becomes the roadmap for life—an abundant life—the life Jesus promised to his followers.

Response: Father God, your word and your promises stand true for all eternity. Help me to believe and live each day through the wise application of your word. Give me understanding that I may live. Amen.

Your Turn: Have you tested God’s Word? How has God’s Word worked for you in real life situations?

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Please pray for the people of Ukraine!

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer won the Best Book of the Year Award from The Word Guild and Volume II has won the Best Devotional of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, this three-book series is an ideal way to daily meet with the Lord. To purchase or for a closer look click here.

Liberate Me

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Today’s quote and prayer from
“Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer”
by David Kitz.

Psalm 119_133
Reading: Psalm 119:129-136

Father God,
I need you to liberate me from every stronghold of sin.
Establish within me a clean heart.
Help my thoughts and actions to be pure.
Lord Jesus,
be my master.
Amen.

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Please pray for the people of Ukraine!

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer won the Best Book of the Year Award from The Word Guild, and Volume II has won the Best Devotional of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, this three-book series is an ideal way to daily meet with the Lord. To purchase or for a closer look click here. 

Personal Liberty

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Reading: Psalm 119:129-136
פ Pe
Your statutes are wonderful;
therefore I obey them.
The unfolding of your words gives light;
it gives understanding to the simple.
I open my mouth and pant,
longing for your commands.
Turn to me and have mercy on me,
as you always do to those who love your name.
Direct my footsteps according to your word;
let no sin rule over me.
Redeem me from human oppression,
that I may obey your precepts.
Make your face shine on your servant
and teach me your decrees.
 Streams of tears flow from my eyes,
for your law is not obeyed
(NIV). *

a tattooed man praying while holding a book

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Reflection
Slavery is distasteful. Distasteful is a rather mild term. Let’s call it what it is—an abomination. It’s difficult these days to find someone who is in favor of slavery. We all seem to be in favor of personal liberty. But are we?

While trumpeting our personal liberty, are we letting ourselves become shackled by crippling habits? We seem quite willing—maybe even eager—to let sin enslave us.

James, the brother of our Lord, provides us with this warning: When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death (James 1:13-15).

Clearly sin has consequences. Yielding to temptations takes us down a dark path. We may think we are in control, but before long we discover we have a new master. Our sinful nature takes over. Evil desires are in control. If we persist in that pattern of behavior, the end result is a seared conscious and death.

We need a Savior to set us free. The psalmist expresses that earnest desire: Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name. Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.

Is that your prayer and the desire of your heart?

Response: Father God, I need you to liberate me from every stronghold of sin. Establish within me a clean heart. Help my thoughts and actions to be pure. Lord Jesus, be my master. Amen.

Your Turn: Have you yielded control to sinful habits? Take some time to go to the cross of Jesus.

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Please pray for the people of Ukraine!

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer won the Best Book of the Year Award from The Word Guild and Volume II has won the Best Devotional of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, this three-book series is an ideal way to daily meet with the Lord. To purchase or for a closer look click here.

Corruption in the World

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Today’s quote and prayer from
“Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer”
by David Kitz.

Prayer Posture Psalms 365
Reading: Psalm 119:121-128

LORD God,
I see the corruption that is in the world.
Keep me from it.
It is time for you to act, LORD;
your law is being broken.
Please show mercy and grace
to those who call out to you.
Amen.

* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA

BGBG_v4.3_150[1818]

Please pray for the people of Ukraine!

Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer won the Best Book of the Year Award from The Word Guild, and Volume II has won the Best Devotional of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, this three-book series is an ideal way to daily meet with the Lord. To purchase or for a closer look click here.