Meditating on God's Promises
You probably have been in a place where you tried to read the Bibles when you were worried. You read a little here and there but then close the Bible. You get nothing out of it. You know God's Word is to help you, but you do not know how to get His Word from the book into your heart.
Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.
This is a common problem that we need to learn to overcome. If you give in to your worries, then you will have no peace. The solution is as you thought right before you in the Word of God. The key problem is to discover how one can get the Word of God into ones own mind. Let us first go over a few principles, and then I will give you a 'prayer example.' In the next slide I will show you why this works, but for now let us focus on how to actually meditate.
Meditating in God's Word during Crisis Times
1) A Belief in God's Word
A successful Christian life comes through meditating in God's Word. We see this in the verses in Joshua 1:7-8, "You shall meditate on it day and night." Meditation enables God's perspective to become our perspective. As we meditate on God's Word day and night, we are able to discern His will and keep from temptation
If we have not properly meditated on God's Word and let our mind guard down, then somehow we have to break through some heart barriers.
This can only be done if you are convinced of the power of God's Word. Many doctrinally believe in God's Word but still lack confidence in its power. If you are not aware on how He spoke to you in the past, then it is unlikely that you will be able to trust His Word in the present confusion. This is the reason it is critical to daily find the riches of God's Word. The only thing that will motivate you to dig into God's Word at this point is faith from the past. Your feelings will speak violently against it. We need faith to believe God's Word. Without faith, we cannot come to God.(1)
2) A Heart to know and obey God.
Once we are convinced of God being able to mightily speak to us, then we still need a commitment before God to know and obey Him. If you haven't been obeying Him, then something has been wrong. So there needs to be a willingness to humble oneself and do what God wants. A meditative heart expects change; it is ready for God to speak.
If your faith and heart are prepared, then you can tackle any problem in the world including worries. Meditation is the implanting of God's Word into your own soul. His Word becomes your word. We are infusing His blood into our blood system.
I am going to be very practical here because you rarely ever hear anyone ever speak on meditation. I doubt anyone has ever heard someone speak on meditative prayer! That is probably because I just now invented that phrase. But Christians have used this method for ages during powerful prayers. Allow me to go over the steps one by one.
- Basic understanding
We must mention before we start that only God's true children can pray. Those who are not in God's family simply cannot call God Daddy. A godly lifestyle is always important in prayer, but if one turning back from his sin, then God give special grace during prayers.
- Find an appropriate passage
Finding an appropriate message might sound difficult but it isn't. God helps you. I often start off by reflecting on whether there is any book or place in the Bible I should open. If so, I open there. If not, I usually turn to the Psalms. Then I read until something grabs my attention. In this case, I will use Psalm 5:3. You could also turn to a book of promises from God's Word or start your own list.
- Settle on a passage.
Don't hop around. Find a verse or section and stick with it. Don't be concerned if it is short or that you don't understand all of it.
- Major points
Quickly identify (less than a minute) the major points of the selected Bible passage. In Psalm 5:3 for example, I found two different major thoughts and put a line between them. There might be other ways to divide up the verse but this does not concern us.
|In the morning, O LORD, Thou wilt hear my voice;
||The assurance that God will hear my voice
|In the morning I will order my prayer to Thee and eagerly watch.
||Two expectations of God of me
- I will pray
- I will eagerly watch
- Personalize your context
Think a moment about where you are at this moment in life. Facing difficulties, need guidance, full of joy, etc. What our circumstances are doesn't matter as much as our honest assessment of where we personally are at. In the example below, I will use the specific setting of an early morning prayer on what promises to be a very stressful day. I am already starting to feel worried.
- Start praying.
Don't waste time looking up words but just start praying. We need to 'meditatively pray.' Meditation takes what you know already and merges it with the Word of God. At other times we can become better students of God's Word. This will help us develop more significant times of prayer mediation.
- A sample prayer for a upcoming stressful day.
There are lots of elements to this prayer. Instead of outlining them at this point, read the sample meditative prayer and then we will make some observations.
"Dear Lord, as I come to you this morning, I want to thank you for hearing my prayer. I come to you because you are important to me. In fact, I can't do without you. The Psalmist prayed in the morning, and you heard his voice. I am now coming to you this morning. I don't know what he was facing on the morning that he wrote that psalm, but I sure know what I am facing and I don't like it.
I frankly would rather not go to work today. Every time I think about the stress at work, - you know, the infighting, the petty jealousies, the swearing, - I just can't stand it. But I know that is why I am here before you this morning. This is why my prayers are coming before you.
You are LORD. You are not just a lord that dominates over me, but in a much more special way the LORD Jehovah who greatly cares for me. I don't have to say anything this morning, and you will still know all about my life. You have committed to be with me. When I cry out to you, you will help me. This is why the psalmist raised his voice. This is why I am raising my voice to you right now. You will hear my voice. You will bring deliverance today! You will somehow give me all those things I so desperately need in my heart. Forgive me for doubting you. Forgive me that I so quickly forget about your love and power.
Because you hear me, I will bring my prayer. It is not like those people who pray to some idol. No. You are living. Their prayers are in vain. But my prayer that I bring to you right now will actually change my day. I look forward to how you will be working. True, you are always a bit mysterious. I don't know how you will help me out today, but I will be looking to you. How I love you! Your ways are so precious and good. I delight in you O LORD. I will be keeping my eye on you and your works wherever I go. When on my bus, walking to work, at my desk and coming home, you will be with me. I treasure your companionship. Be with me.
So LORD, help me to live like Jesus today. Strip away these anxious thoughts as I delight in your word and ways. Keep me from temptation. Deliver me from evil. Provide all those things I need so that I can accomplish what you want me to do each day. Thank you for being with me this day. You are greater than my worries. You will give grace. I appreciate that. In Christ's Name I pray, Amen".
- Comments of above prayer.
He was very honest and open with God about his own troubles and about God's goodness.
He was convinced in God's Word. If he prayed, God would hear (help him out).
He would continue to come back to the scripture passage that was before him, weaving in and out, as the Spirit led.
He was outright practical. He talked about that morning just as the psalmist talked about his morning.
He was humble. He was honest about mistakes as well as truly repentant for his sins.
He was expecting answered prayers. This is specially mentioned in this Psalm, but it should always be part of our prayers.
We actually see that the Word became his own word. I agree certain cautions need to be in place lest we say foolish things, but when one is humble and contrite before the Lord recognizing his own needs in life, we are not so easily tempted. The word of God bursts through any closed doors and gives us God's perspective on life. Often the prayers lead in places and to depths that we can not plan. That is fine. Let the Holy Spirit lead you.
Let's see why these kind of prayers can help us. Next page
(1) And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6, NASB).