Wednesday, 20 January 2010
A scary, but safe prayer...
Psalm 139 fires off with some pretty strong words that have be swishing around in my consciousness since our Young Adult group studied them last week...
"You have looked deep into my heart, Lord, and you know all about me..."
All about me... all about my resting, my working, my family life... all my thoughts, the holy ones & the stinkers .... all my words before they're even on my tongue, the hurtful ones & those that encourage.
As Christians we often nod in agreement to this theology, but fail to follow it up with the invitation of the final verses in this Psalm. Not because we think too much of ourselves, but because we think too little. How difficult it is to pray these words sincerely... "Look deep into my heart, God, and find out everything I am thinking. Don't let me follow evil ways, but lead me in the way that time has proven true."
Through this prayer God invites us to look, reflect, listen, see & experience what is happening in our daily lives & sense the footprints of the Divine.
I invite you to practice this now, but ensure that you do it with God, not alone. I believe that deep down we all struggle with self-acceptance & seeing our true selves with the blinkers off, so to self-examine without Him is to end up excessively praising or blaming ourselves... on one hand is justification, rationalisation & evasion of responsibility, on the other is self-flagellation, merciless self-beating & unnecessary guilt.
If it helps write your discoveries in a journal, and let the external events of your life be the springboard for a deeper understanding of God in your heart.
And once you have let the Lord of grace examine you, why not offer yourself as a "living sacrifice" to Him once more (Romans 12:1)... offer yourself just as you are (warts & all), not what you want to be.
"Precious Saviour, why do I fear your scrutiny? Yours is an examen of love. Still, I am afraid... afraid of what might surface. Even so, I invite You to search me to the depths so that I may know myself - and you - in fuller measure." Richard Foster, "Prayer"