Lizzie Reynolds continues her series of reflections on the Psalms. This week, Lizzie will lead us through Psalm 141. 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 141, our final abide of the semester, and I hope that you've learned, like I have, through these times in the Psalms, the journey, that there is such spaciousness, to be ourselves, to bring to God, however we are feeling, whatever the cry out, or frustration, that they all belong here with our Saviour.
So find a place that's quiet to pull away, to tuck away, with God. You might feel comfortable sitting, I know for me, I always like to grab a blanket I, I tend to bring a quilt with me that was my grandmother's, so just to remind me of her love, and my ancestors love, and their faith, and their journey. And so maybe in this prayer time, you just want to bring something close to you, that reminds you that we are part of this big, long genealogy of faith, of believers. And so, begin to quiet your body in whatever posture you've chosen. A place where you feel safe. A place where we can all come to solitude, and to silence, in this place that we are desirous to nurture new growth. So that new love may ripen into abundant fruit for us, and for the world around us.
So we dedicate this time to you Father. So let's take a nice inhale together, and exhale, and again, another inhale, and exhale. We come to this time in the semester with a lot of demands upon us. A lot of things to finish up. Maybe we're even thinking about the summer, and will we work, have a job, where will we live? And what about the fall, we come and we have a lot of questions Jesus, and we feel burdened, by just even our present circumstances. And so hope in you, and take a break from all of these concerns that we actually can't figure out right now. And so let's take this time to deepen our focus, and to settle our bodies, and our minds, Soften your eyes, there's nothing to see right now, or read. Softly soften your cheeks, Relax through your central body and your hips, the legs, all the way down to your feet. Just reminding your body, heart That God is here, that God is holding you, and sustaining your very body, and being, and He holds you with care, kindness, and love.
I'm going to read part of a Psalm and ask you to repeat it after me if you'd like. "Be still, and know that I am God. Be still." In the presence of our Saviour, be. And I've given you a lot of ideas throughout these weeks and months, and so today for our last Abide, I'm just going to give you quiet space, and to see how the Spirit might guide you to what to be grateful for. Maybe it's your physical body, or friendships, or your outer world, or... allow the Spirit to guide you. But I'm going to give you just over a minute, to have this quiet space to allow gratitude to slowly well up within your being. And the time starts now.
Wonderful. And we're going to bring our ears to hear the words of Psalm 141, a psalm of David. And I just want to remind you that if your mind starts to drift, or wander, into the things of the day, or what's ahead. Just remind you to take a nice deep breath and just gently and kindly bring yourself back home, where you are held, and where all is safe. And so, if your mind drifts many, many times, Hear the words of David:
"I call to you, Lord. Come quickly to me. Hear me when I call to you. May my prayer be set before you like incense. May the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. Set a guard over my mouth Lord, keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil, so that I take part in the wicked deeds, along with those who are evil doers. Do not let me eat their delicacies. But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign Lord, in you I take refuge. Do not give me over to death, but keep me safe from the traps, set by evildoers, from the snares they have laid for me. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety."
I'm going to read the Psalm, parts of the Psalm, once again, and just want to allow you to hold on to a word, or a phrase, that, that sticks and hold that close. "I call to you, Lord, come quickly to me. Hear me when I call to you. May my prayer be set before you like incense. May the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. Set a guard over my mouth Lord. Keep watch over the door of my lips, and do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil, so that I take part in the wicked deeds, along with those who are evil doers. Do not let me eat their delicacies. But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign Lord. In you I take refuge. Do not give me over to death, but keep me safe from the traps set by evildoers, from the snares they have laid for me. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety."
Now allow this word, or phrase, to become maybe a conversation with God. Maybe tell him your word, and let him hear your voice, or your phrase, and allow the silence to be there. As the two of you go back and forth and, and see how that word or phrase might enlighten, or enliven, yourself today. I'm going to read the passage again, and I wonder if you can take that phrase or that word and see how it might apply to, to your own life. How it might shape the thinking of your day. What God might be pressing upon your heart.
"I call to you, Lord. Come quickly to me. Hear me when I call to you. May my prayer be set before you like incense. May the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. Set a guard over my mouth Lord, keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil, so that I take part in the wicked deeds along with those who are evil doers. Do not let me eat their delicacies. But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign Lord, and then you I take refuge do not give me over to death, but keep me safe from the trap set by evildoers, from the snares they have laid for me. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety."
Again, take that word or phrase and allow Jesus to weave it into your being. Let's take a nice, deep inhale in this space, with these words and with these truths, so that they might take up space in our body, physically, in our heart, and in our mind, let's take a nice deep breath in here. And exhale. See in this passage that David says, I call to you Lord, come quickly, come close. Come close. Think about the ability that we have, to know that the Father is close, whether it's the symbol of a housecoat wrapped around you, or a blanket, whatever it may be, how would it help you to imagine that God is close to you today?
“May my prayer be set before you like incense.” Incense is sweet, and it fills a room. To know that God finds our words, and our mumblings, and stumblings of thought, He finds them sweet, and that they fill his ears, and that he welcomes them. He welcomes your, your being today afresh. He welcomes your hands, as David writes, "that are lifted in praise.”
Be reminded today. That the Father's close, and your words, and your thoughts, and your hands. He cares for them. He listens. He watches. David is pleading that he might remain faithful in the midst of his enemies, in the midst of his fears of the unknowns, and of the mysteries of life. I think too, we would like to remain faithful Lord, even if we don't know how we're going to do on this paper. How we're going to get the energy to write it, or the exam.
Or can we remain faithful to you if we don't know what our summer job is? Or what the fall might look like? Can we remain? Can we abide in your close presence, even when these things are surrounding us? I think you are inviting us, Lord, into this, into this depth of relationship, even with all the surrounding unknowns.
“Set a guard over my mouth, Lord, and keep watch over the door of my lips.” Jesus we forget, it's simple, we have one mouth and two ears, and yet, we are very quick to use our mouths or, or to use our text messages or our media feeds to speak a lot of words, a lot of words. And here, David says, set a guard around my mouth. I wonder if you could just reflect on your day you've, you've been living in, or maybe yesterday or the day before, and what are the words that have come out of your mouth, or come out of your heart into the world? What have your words been like, mentally, or in vocal form or even in, in written form. I give you time with Jesus to review and just think about what your mouth and your words are up to. Have mercy on us, Lord, for how quick we are to speak. We long for words of integrity. We long to have discipline over how we speak, and when we speak. We don't want to sound like every other person and get entrapped by things that aren't in line with who you are. And maybe we'll have to pause before we say something, or write something. Maybe it's not needed in the world to be said. Lord, as David says, put a guard around our mouths. Keep watch over the door of my lips. Don't let my heart be drawn to what is evil.
Lord, this is a moment by moment, exercise, and we're reminded that you're close, and that you care, and that we can rely on your spirit in this area. As we grow in integrity of our words, and our actions. “But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign Lord. In you, I take refuge.” My eyes seem to be focused on so many things other than you Lord. My eyes are racing from here to there. So, we all sit with you Jesus. Now we ask you, to bring our eyes to focus on you. As we fix our eyes on you, that your light and your love and your compassion might shine upon those areas that we are so fixated on to, to be obsessing over, whether it be a relationship, or conflict, the unknowns of the future, our plans, our desire for control. God, all those things are passing. And yet you remain. And so bring our hearts, and our eyes, and our minds, and our hands, and our lips, our whole selves to fix, and focus on you. Even if it just be for this moment of prayer, that as we do this, we will find a refuge of strength. We will know that we're not alone as we go forward, into our days, and into our lives. Knowing you are close.
"Keep me safe from the trap set by evildoers, from the snares they have laid for me. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety." Lord, I pray over us all, that we would be enclosed in you. And that no matter what anxiety, or unknowns, or circumstances, or sorrows, or frustrations that we might have today, that we will always be in your safety, that we won't allow those things of the world, those mysteries that are too great for us, to ensnare us, to confuse us, because you are worthy of our gaze, of our lives, of our whole being.
So I invite you now, if you're comfortable, just to put your hand on your heart, just to feel that warmth, there. That closeness. Let's just repeat this phrase over our heart and over our body. "Be still and know that I am God. Be still and know that I am. Be still and know. Be still. Be."
My deepest thanks to all of you for journeying with me through the Psalms this semester. Journey with me as I stumble, and fall, and try to create silence, and solitude in my own being, and in my own life.
Thank you for companioning with me.
And so we'll end our prayer today as we always do, saying: Glory be to the Father. Glory be to the Son, and Glory be to the Spirit. As it was in the beginning, as it is now, and as ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Go in peace, my beloved friends.
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