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I have written about Martin Luther’s method of prayer a few times in recent weeks. The full treatment of his method is covered in the Psalm 23 article.
Luther first prayed the Psalm. I assume he put the Psalm in his own words as he read it from the Bible. That is how I approach the “pray” portion of his prayer plan.
The second thing Luther recommended is to use a verse or a portion of a verse for meditation purposes. There are several outstanding thoughts in Psalm 27 that are suitable for meditation.
The third aspect of Luther’s method is to “absorb” the text. We bring the issues of our day to the Psalm and apply the Psalm in prayer to those issues. The times in which we are living have several big issues that will benefit from this third part of Luther’s prayer plan.
If you haven’t already done so, please try out Luther’s plan. I believe it will expand your experience of God in prayer.
Fear and Faith
For some many people 2020 is the most stressful and anxiety producing year of their lives. The African American church has an expression that is very appropriate for our times. They say, “It’s praying time.”
Let’s absorb the issues of today and bring them to God through the words of this Psalm.
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
I will fear no one.
The Lord protects me from all danger;
I will never be afraid.
When evil people attack me and try to kill me,
they stumble and fall.
Even if a whole army surrounds me,
I will not be afraid;
even if enemies attack me,
I will still trust God. (Psalm 27.1-3)
How do we know in the core of our being that God is the light who conquers all darkness? How do we know that he delivers and protects us from our enemies? Only a personal encounter with God will reassure us of his protection and direction.
Our ability to “trust God” (verse 3) comes from knowing God. We are able to fully rely on God, because we know him as being completely reliable.
The Help of God’s Presence
When we worship God, we rehearse who God is through song, prayer, Bible reading, and silent communion with God. The writer of the Psalm had numerous anxiety producing concerns, but he asked for only one thing.
I have asked the Lord for one thing;
one thing only do I want:
to live in the Lord’s house all my life,
to marvel there at his goodness,
and to ask for his guidance.
In times of trouble he will shelter me;
he will keep me safe in his Temple
and make me secure on a high rock.
So I will triumph over my enemies around me.
With shouts of joy I will offer sacrifices in his Temple;
I will sing, I will praise the Lord. (Psalm 27.4-6)
The speaker in this Psalm wanted to be able to meet God in the Temple. Temple worship represented two very important parts of our relationship with God.
First of all, in worship we marvel at God’s attributes. In worship he will give us direction for how to live our lives in troubled times. In worship he will keep us safe.
The speaker’s worship in the Temple reminds us that we are not alone in the struggle. As we join others in worship, we are benefited by each other’s relationship with God.
Jesus made it clear when he said, “For where two or three come together in my name, I am there with them” (Matthew 18.20).
Don’t let the issues of 2020 paralyze you. Absorb them into your heart and then get lost in the worship of God. One you have worshiped God in the midst of your issues, you can trust that God is active on your behalf.
Prayer for Help
The Book of Hebrews encourages us with these words, “So, friends, we can now — without hesitation — walk right up to God, into ‘the Holy Place.’ Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God” (Hebrews 10.19-20 the Message Translation).
Notice how the speaker in Psalm 27 comes to God without hesitation and asks for his help. Let’s be encouraged to imitate the bold praying of the Psalm writer and the author of Hebrews.
Hear me, Lord, when I call to you!
Be merciful and answer me!
When you said, “Come worship me,”
I answered, “I will come, Lord.”
Don’t hide yourself from me!
Don’t be angry with me;
don’t turn your servant away.
You have been my help;
don’t leave me, don’t abandon me,
O God, my savior.
My father and mother may abandon me,
but the Lord will take care of me. (Psalm 27.7-10)
Fears and anxieties press upon the speaker, just as they do to us today. We call out to God for his help with both prayer and in worship. Notice all of the strong appeals for help that the speaker brings to God. God gave us these words in a Holy Spirit inspired book to encourage us to pray in a like manner.
We can trust God for an answer to our prayer. If you need support in your time of need, read chapters 14-16 in the Gospel of John. Notice how often Jesus promises to answer your prayers.
Appeal for Direction
Prayer and worship is very practical. Prayer and worship is not reserved for Sunday morning or a few minutes of devotional reading to start the day. It applies to every aspect of life – to work, play, family relations, and more.
When we meet with God, we are speaking with the wisest Being of All. We can confidently ask him to teach us and to show us what to do. We can ask him to lead us along a safe path.
Teach me, Lord, what you want me to do,
and lead me along a safe path,
because I have many enemies.
Don’t abandon me to my enemies,
who attack me with lies and threats.
I know that I will live to see
the Lord’s goodness in this present life.
Trust in the Lord.
Have faith, do not despair.
Trust in the Lord. (Psalm 27.11-14)
Once again, this Psalm is bold in prayer. The appeal is for God to teach and to lead in the safe path. It is imperative that God not leave us to the threats and lies of enemies.
Faith mingles with bold praying to give people who pray an assurance that God is at work on their behalf.
Please consider using Luther’s method that was described at the beginning of this article in your praying today. God wants to do great things in your life today.
May We Pray for You?
Maywood Baptist Church has a prayer team who is honored to pray for you. Please send me your prayer concerns at email@example.com or private message me on Facebook. We will pray for you.