Lizzie Reynolds continues her series of reflections on the Psalms. This week, Lizzie will lead us through Psalm 131. If you long for a reflective and contemplative time of immersion in Word and prayer, please join us every two weeks for “Abide”.
Welcome, Tyndale. Welcome to Abide, a journey through the Psalms, and today's Psalm is 131.
Find a quiet place in your home, or wherever you are, to just sit, or lie down, a place that you can be relaxed, and yet alert, ready to listen. Take a gentle inhale through the nose, and exhale out. Just relaxing the body into the start of this prayer time. And I ask you, what brings you to this time of prayer? Why are you here? What is your deepest desire for being here? I find that if we name this, at the start of the prayer time, we can begin with sincerity. We can begin with where we're really at and what's really most important to us. It's all right here. And as you notice your breath, notice how your body begins to quiet, how your shoulders relax back and down, and how the mind is able to be still, allowing things to settle. And I wonder if you notice, that God is gazing at you. As you settle into the quiet, and into the stillness, be reminded of this truth that, your Father is gazing at you at this moment, loves you. He's so glad to be with you.
Today's gratitude practice will be surrounding the humans in our lives, and how we can be grateful, and maybe have a deeper awareness of the importance of these, these beings that God has given us. So I invite you now to think about your most precious human being friends and family. Maybe some of them you can't be with physically, but they are so close to your heart. You think of them often. You're so, you have so much love and affection for these people. So I'm going to give you a moment to just thank God for these most precious inner circle people. I wonder, as you God, sit and talk with one another about the preciousness of these human beings in your life, maybe you could pray for them. Reach your heart out in prayer, in concern and thanksgiving, that these precious ones will have peace and strength, enjoy today.
And then I invite you to think about the human beings that you see regularly on a screen, the people that you see on these Zoom calls, the meetings you have. Maybe it's church online, looking at your pastors and the worship leaders. Maybe it's your professors, or fellow students. I want you to think about those individuals that you see on a regular daily, or weekly basis, on these calls. Spend some time in gratitude for these human lives, that are happening beyond the screen, for their stories. And I'll give you a moment to do that. I ask you now, to think about the people that you're actually able to physically be with. So think about the people in your home or where you're living that you physically get to interact with them regularly, thanking God for their presence.
What about the other people that you physically get to be with regularly, like the people on the bus, the bus driver that you see? Or what about if you've been to the doctor or the dentist, and you've looked at human faces, and interacted with them, even with masks on? What about the people at the grocery store that are attending to you, or an Uber driver that brings you food? Think about the people you actually get to have human contact with and how God has placed you in that circle. To be loved and to love, to be cared for and to care. And so I'm going to give you a moment to think about those strangers that are serving you, that you physically are able to see. And want you to just scan those people, and thank God for them. Take some time to pray for those people, for those strangers, that you actually physically get to see, and say hello, and smile, and say thank you, and say have a great day. The life of Christ lives physically around us and in us.
Thank you God, for the people that we love most, that are in the inner circle. Thank you God for the instructors and the people that are teaching us and that we're in meetings with we pray for them. Thank you for all the people that are serving us, and living alongside us that we don't even know very well. Maybe we'll open our eyes, and our hearts and our hands, to be more aware of them. Thank you, for the people that you've put in our lives.
I always find a gratitude practice just softens my hardened heart, my heart of stone, or my heart that's dry and crumbly. That once I begin to think about what God is doing around me, I soften in his presence. And so we take our softened heart to this passage, Psalm 131, a Psalm of David and it's a song of ascent. These are songs that the pilgrims would sing on their way up to Jerusalem for the festivals. These are long journeys. The songs are focusing on their destination, and it's companioning them on the long journey. We too, are on a pilgrimage and here's a song for us. “My heart is not proud, Lord. My eyes are not haughty. I do not concern myself with great matters, or things too wonderful for me. But I've calmed and quieted myself. I'm like a weaned child with its mother. Like a weaned child, I am content. Israel, put your hope in the Lord, both now and forevermore.” “My heart is not proud, Lord. My eyes are not haughty. I do not concern myself with great matters, or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself. I am like a weaned child with its mother. Like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the Lord, both now and forevermore.”
As I ponder these words, these sweet three verses, I sense the invitation of cultivating a quiet heart. “My heart is not proud, Lord. My eyes are not haughty.” These words are ones of humility, of submission, words of open hands. “I do not concern myself with great matters, or things too wonderful for me.” What are your concerns today? The Lord knows we have so many.
Take this time as Jesus gazes with you, and at you, and around you. Tell him your concerns today. He longs to hear your voice. He longs to bear your load. So, take this moment to share these concerns that are weighing on your heart today. The Psalmist writes, I do not concern myself with great matters, or things too wonderful for me. David is seen to let some things go. I wonder if we can cultivate the ability to relax, with not knowing, with not figuring everything out, with not being at all sure about who we are, or who anyone else is either. Every moment is unique and unknown, completely fresh. Just as we don't fully understand how a bird can fly, and how the seasons shift and change, the way the clouds move. We don't understand how these wonderful things happen.
And so Lord, we are opening ourselves and submitting ourselves and our concerns. These things that are just too big. Lord, speak to us today that we'd be willing to leave some questions unanswered. Because we have the confidence that Lord you know the answers, that you know, and it's okay that we don't know. “But I have calmed and quieted myself.” What calms you? What helps quiet yourself? Are there practices you have? Things you do in a day? These things that calm you, and quiet you. Have you been able to do them lately? Why or why not? "But I have calmed and quieted myself." Seems as though this is a practice of David's. Talk to Jesus about things that help calm you and quiet you. Maybe those things can play a bigger part in your day, and in your week.
"I am like a weaned child with its mother. Like a weaned child, I am content." Being a mom, and many of you might know a weaned child is, is an older child, it is three to five years old, it no longer needs constant food, or constant holding, or cuddling. It's grown in its trust, and now it just needs the presence of the mom there. So that it can go off and play, and run, and explore but always knowing mom is there, dad is there. It's a weaned child, it no longer needs constant soothing, because there's been a trust. There's a relationship. Of course, the child doesn't know what's happening in an hour, or in two hours, or tomorrow or the next day. But it doesn't seem to matter. Because of the presence of mom or dad are there, they're safe.
Father, you tell us that your presence will never leave us or forsake us. Forgive us when we want to go back to being babies, when we need to see you, and feel you, and experience you at every moment. Or we cry. Lord grow us into these weaned children, and maybe one day, teenagers and adults where we, we grow a trust, a deepening knowing of one another. We've had experience with you as your children and you have always been faithful to us. Regardless of our circumstances, all we need is your presence to console us God. Even though the child might not fully understand, or know why or how, they trust.
"Israel, put your hope in the Lord, both now and forevermore." Friends, what would it look like to put our hope in our Father, in the motherly comfort, of our God? To put our hope in Him again today, to put our hope in Him over, and over, and over again. Over time, we will cultivate a quiet heart. A trusting heart.
I'm going to read the passage one more time over us, and may it be like a soothing balm, over you, and Jesus, who have been able to sit quietly together in the presence of your home, your circumstances, your concerns. May we receive this word of life today. "My heart is not proud, Lord, and my eyes are not haughty. I do not concern myself with great matters, or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself. I am like a weaned child with its mother. Like a weaned child, I am content. Israel, put your hope in the Lord, both now and forevermore."
As we begin to bring this prayer to a close, I just want to remind you that you can take this quieted heart into all the parts of your day. And when things start to rise, the stresses return, may you return to these moments, these truths, to quiet you. So we pray these things, and close this time saying, Glory be to the Father, and Glory be to the Son, and to the spirit. As it was in the beginning as it is now, and as it ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Go in peace.
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