Psalm 119 Contemplations – Week 2 (May 11-17)

Increased Integrity ~ May 11 ~ Psalm 119:65-72 ~ Teth. Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments. (66)

Let’s start to use a different approach this week. Read through verses 65 to 72 slowly. Does one verse or phrase grab your attention more than the others? Take time to ponder it. Read it all slowly again. Ask in prayer why that verse is important to you now. Read it slowly once more. Is there a way for you to respond? Something Your Master is asking you to do in this word?

Joyful Judgments ~ May 12 ~ Psalm 119:73-80 ~ Yod. Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice, because I have hoped in your word. (74)

Let’s do some ‘holy reading’ again, with Psalm 119. Read these eight verses, and notice what stands out. Ask, prayerfully, ‘is it You who is pointing this out to me, or not You?’ Read the verses again, slowly. Are there things about your personality that lead you to pick out that one verse? Are there things about what’s going on with you today that led you to notice it? Read the verses once more, and try to quiet your mind, thinking only of these phrases you see here.

Keep Calm ~ Psalm 119:81-88 ~ Kaph ~ May 13. My soul languishes for your salvation; I hope in your word. (81)

Today’s theme of ‘needing help in our souls’ can bring us into the Holy Presence. It is a real lament we read today. Do you need to be sad? To cry out for justice? To hope desperately for rescue from a situation? Or, remember a time in your life when you walked through a dark valley and were desperate for God.

Limitless Lord ~ May 14 ~ Psalm 119:89-96 ~ Lamed. I have seen a limit to all perfection, but your commandment is exceedingly broad. (96)

As you go over these verses today, notice what is perfect and what is not perfect. The need for perfection can be a deep need we feel. We obsess over little things that are not just right. Or we see the big issues that need to be fixed, but are not. Quiet your thoughts, and sit before God in quietness. Seek to be still and know the Perfect One near you.

My Meditation ~ May 15 ~ Psalm 119:97-104 ~ Mem. Oh, how I love your law! It is my meditation all day long. (97)

The word ‘meditation’ comes up often in the 176 verses of Psalm 119. With your body resting and quiet, take time to quiet your mind, and seek to be still in your thoughts. As you go over today’s eight verses, choose one small phrase as a focus for Christian meditation. Say you choose, “I do not turn away.” Then, when you become still, but your mind wanders, go back to the words you chose. “I do not turn away.” Repeat the phrase in your mind, slowly, whenever you get distracted. Seek the simple light and presence of God.

No Night ~ May 16 ~ Psalm 119:105-112 ~ Nun. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (105)

Light and darkness are deep images of our experience. If possible, light a candle for your meditation time today. Or turn on a battery operated candle. Whatever works for you, whatever you have at hand. Simply pray quietly, with the light as something to focus your attention. Remember, remember, remember, Jesus is the Light of the world, our inner Light, and He is the living Word to us.

Others Off-track ~ May 17 ~ Psalm 119:113-120 ~ Samek. I hate the double-minded, but I love your law. (113)

It is Sunday again. ‘Right’ and ‘wrong’ get our attention, when we “get religious.” Knowing what’s wrong can help us stay on the right track, but can also tempt us to beat up on others whom we see doing wrong. Today, pray prayers of confession. Ask to be shown the deeper causes of your own failures and faults. Seek Jesus, who loves you enough to give up His life for you. May His forgiveness come, and “hold you up.”

PSALM 119 Contemplations – Week 1 (May 3-10)

For twenty-two days, join me in meditating up a section of Psalm 119, the longest Psalm, the longest chapter in the Bible. Each day, read the eight verse section, and spend some time with the verses. There will be some suggestions for you each day.

Pastor Jeff White

Active Adoration – May 3 – Psalm 119: 1-8 Aleph. I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous ordinances. (7)

Psalm 119 has twenty-two parts, one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Every verse of each section begins with that letter of the alphabet (in Hebrew). Today’s eight verses are the first section, and are filled with blessed happiness and worship. Ponder these verses and how our actions (following God) go hand in hand with our praise of God (adoration).

Blest Beginning ~ Monday, May 4 ~ Psalm 119:9-16 ~ Beth. How can young people keep their way pure? By guarding it according to your word. (9)

The first verse of this section is well known. Years ago, when I was about twenty, a dear friend and mentor gave me a study Bible, and when he signed it he wrote this verse there. It is true for every age. Read over today’s eight verses, and consider how you can guard your way of living each day by God’s guidance.

Clear Counsel ~ Tuesday, May 5 ~ Psalm 119:17-24 ~ Gimel. Your decrees are my delight, they are my counselors. (24)

As we read this third section, we may begin to see a pattern, or it may seem to be getting repetitive. It is! In fact, every verse of this Psalm has a word in it that means God’s law, way, guidance. They vary in the many English translations, but today’s eight verses have these words: 17 word, 18 law, 19 commandments, 20 ordinances, 21 commandments, 22 decrees, 23 statutes, 24 decrees. Pray about how these things have been your counsellors through the years.

Divine Deliverance ~ Wed, May 6 ~ Psalm 119:25-32 ~ Daleth. My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to your word. (25)

Many themes of prayer and study come up over and over in this long chapter. Today’s verses deal with times of trouble and need. The soul is feeling low and sad, dealing with falsehood and shame. Remember what verses of scripture have sustained you, and why certain ones have stayed with you in your heart and mind for many years.

Education’s End ~ Thrs, May 7 ~ Psalm 119:33-40 ~ He. Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes, and I will observe it to the end. (33)

So much of the time we treat the Bible as our textbook. We follow Jesus as our Rabbi, our Teacher, our Master. As you go over verses 33 through 40 today, ask the Spirit of Jesus to show you what you have been taught, and how you have been trained in His school of life. Ask also to be shown what lessons are next in the faith curriculum.

Fidelity Forever ~ Fri, May 8 ~ Psalm 119:41-48 ~ Waw.  I will keep your law continually, forever and ever. (44)

This section of Psalm 119 seems to emphasize how a person sticks to the word of God and truly enjoys it. And that’s just why we stick with something – because we enjoy it, we value it, we love it. As you meditate upon these eight verses, pray that you may be led and inspired to be more faithful today than yesterday, because you love what you hear from God.

Grounded Goodness ~ Sat, May 9, Psalm 119:49-56 ~ Zayin. This is my comfort in my distress, that your promise gives me life. (50)

Today’s part of the poetry mentions hope and comfort. It mentions opponents: the arrogant, the wicked. It mentions singing! Life is a mixed bag of experiences, and Psalms deal with it all: all that happens to us, all we do and feel, all that is terrible, all that is worth celebrating. Meditate upon these verses by rewriting them in your own words, for your situation, your life today.

Holy Hurry ~ Sun, May 10 ~ Psalm 119:57-64 ~ Heth. I hurry and do not delay, to keep your commandments. (60)

‘Hurry up and wait’ is what happens to us sometimes. In this pandemic season, there can be a lot more waiting going on. We wish things would hurry up and change! Take time, with these eight verses, to consider how you rush, and how you slow down. Examine yourself, with God, to see how you are doing at quieting yourself and resting in Christ.

Prayers for January 13th

I want us to do more praying today than usual.  
I find people occasionally noticing we are not doing a lot of praying about the decisions we have to make, from time to time.  We are together on Sunday mornings: Let us pray…

Before the ushers come forward, Holy One, we need to be ushered into Your Presence.
Your wisdom is far more precious than silver or diamonds or gold: show our hearts that eternal value.  
Your provision is more than we can come up with: show our minds that You are our God of plenty, not of poverty.  
Master, we are getting ready this very minute to make an offering of money. We are getting ready this month to make a plan for the whole year. We are getting ready this year for the rest of our life as a congregation, called to be here for such a time as this.  
Speak through the scriptures to us, we pray, that we may rely on You well.  Speak through the voices of the fellowship, we pray, that we may love as You love.  Speak through our bank accounts and our bills, we pray, that we may learn Your accounting.  Speak through the silent beauty of the universe, we pray, that we may spend and give generously.
Speak, Lord, for your servants are listening. AMEN.

Prayers of the People ONE
Our praying now will happen in three parts.  
First, we will pray as we often do. Me, saying a few sentences.  Then I will give time for others to pray a word or phrase or sentence out loud.  Included will be silent, unspoken prayers, of course.
Let us pray…

God of cities, God of wilderness, God of villages: from our beautiful point on the globe we pray and lift our voices.  Bless the world You love. John spoke and baptized out by a riverbank. On the banks of the Annapolis Basin we have our ministry.  Send the Spirit, in Jesus’s name, to bless or inflame or move or strengthen – whatever is needed now.
Forgive our prayerlessness – inspire our fellowship with You.  Forgive our willfulness – give us courage to trust Your ways that are not our ways. Forgive our traditionalism – attract us into new and beautiful ways of living our lives together, for Christ.
Now we offer our prayers for one another, and the world beyond. We speak out loud names and sentences.  We speak silently too, and You are the Hearer of prayer…

In the name of Jesus. AMEN.

Prayers of the People TWO
This time, let us use scripture to pray… silently.
Turn me with me Psalm 127.  Pew Bible or your own, larger print version.  The first half speaks of what God is up to, and what we are up to – and that we could be more at ease. The second half of the Psalm speaks of children: sons.  You might meditate upon what Jesus did with this when He read it – a man without sons. You can also think of these verses in terms of our children in the Christian Faith – and how they might be born.  So let us take a few silent minutes for prayer, using Psalm 127 to inspire us. Let us pray…

Prayers of the People THREE
Now, let us change our posture for the third prayer.
Let us stand. A prayer by a man named Eddie Askew.
Eddie Askew book
Let us pray…

a Prayer for Reformation Sunday, 2017

God of new things, creating beauty, revealing truth, inspiring holiness: amid our thankfulness today, we have come from our brokenness to be healed, from our fears and anxieties to be encouraged, from our staleness of spirit to be inspired.  We have glimpsed Christ, preeminent: One where humanity and creation and Divinity meet.  For the beautiful Saviour we give thanks, and may we find life abundant in Jesus.

God of wisdom and light, we give thanks today for Crandall University, a place of learning for students and faculty.  May this institution be alive with both deep truths and brave exploration.  We pray for all who are there. May they fulfill their purposes and grow in mind and spirit, by Your grace.

God unchanging, there is that part of us that wants sure things, solid things.  We remember today that five hundred years ago a great reformation in the Church in the West was just beginning. The many leaders and many followers were very creative and devout.  We see the great renewal and discipleship that came from this and give thanks, Lord.  We know the great divisions that came about and we weep because of the disunity that is still with us today, Master. What does it mean now that Jesus prayed that we may be one as You and He and the Spirit are one?  

God of lovingkindness, full of compassion and power for good: deep within us is the place we know You closest, and there we also are touched by others.  We call out in prayer for one another, and for those asking for our prayers.  Blessing Spirit, there are those facing real trouble and conflict: Oh that there would be peace in store for them!  There are those who are facing real hunger and other needs: Oh that there would be help and hope for them!  There are others who are trying to survive the aftermath of real disasters: Oh that they would find perseverance and wisdom for the rebuilding of their lives!

And lead us on as a community of faith with actions of hope for all those around us.  Reform Your Church again, and make us one today, with the unchanging truth and the creative change needed.  In the name of the Master, Jesus. AMEN.