Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Psalm 123 - A Lesson in Patient Petition

Have you ever wondered if praying to God over and over again for the same thing was a bad idea? Maybe you have felt that he heard my first request so I don't need to repeat it, right? The answer may surprise you.

The great 123rd Psalm details an ideal picture of how to approach God and those issues you are dealing with.

In verse 1 the psalmist points us to look heavenward to the great God who finds his dwelling place there. This sign of recognition of God's heavenly place lets us in on His awesome power and ruling position. He is Lord over all things.

Verse 2 has two parts. First, it helps us understand the type of gaze we should apply to the throne in heaven, as one who looks to his masters hand to direct them to do their work. Secondly, as one who focuses on his masters hand, the patient aspect of faith and trust in God is brought to light. Here the psalmist says,

"so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he shows us his mercy." (v.2)

That is the key, we must continually look to the Lord, keep our focus on him, until he shows us mercy. That mercy is likely present the moment we ask, I dare say has already been there just awaiting a request, however, when we ask we don't always clearly see the result of our petition so we must stay patient and wait on this request.

Well now we will see whether or not it is ok to persist in our identical request.

The first part of verse 3 gives us our much needed answer. The psalmist repeats his first line,

"Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us..." (v.3) 

But you may be asking why the repetition? It is typically used for emphasis and that is what was being done here.When we pray we lift up our eyes and voices to heaven giving our praise and petitioning the glorious one with the things we are concerned with our that we believe need his greatest attention. By viewing the emphasis here we can see a pattern of prayer.

1. Look to the Lord alone
2. Recognize and honor his heavenly dominion
3. Be patient and wait for his deliverance
4. Petition him until your have been rescued or your prayers have been fulfilled

This pattern is evident in the 123rd Psalm and should echo in your life. Never quit on your prayers even if it seems that neighbor will never accept your invitation to church, or your boss will not cease his demeaning tone towards you or your teenage daughter will not relent in her pursuit of independence and a "life of the party" mentality. 

Never give have to go on, even when the whole world crashes in on your heart...your help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth!

Comfort one another with these words!

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