Guest speaker: Ross, Chief Strategy & People Officer
Desiring to be in God’s presence should be a longing for all those following Him. What is wonderful is that Jesus and others have taught us to pray and that we have God’s revelation readily accessible in scripture for many of us.
Our walk with the Lord is strongest when we pray and get in the word. Unfortunately for me, and maybe others, reading the Bible is not always a desire of mine. I definitely go through periods where I cannot get enough of God’s word but also times on the other side where reading the Bible can feel like a chore or just be uninteresting.
I know personally there are many reasons I have gone through these phases:
- Time – I simply am unwilling to make the effort
- I have “read it all and know what is says” - the Bible feels old and I am not gaining anything new
- Avoidance – knowing I will be convicted of something I don’t want to do or not willing to admit
- And more
During these low stretches I have tried several things:
- Spending more time in a devotional
- Trading the time I would have been reading out in nature or listening to and singing praise songs
- Forcing myself to just keep reading because I know it’s good for me
- Just letting time go by reading very little or not at all and just waiting for desire to spark again
However, two things have helped me the most to get back on track:
- Reminding myself that anything worth doing is worth doing poorly
- Doing a little bit of a good thing everyday, while not necessarily great, is better than doing nothing
- And the main one I want to expand on is: Praying through Psalm 119
Psalm 119 is about a love for God’s word. The psalmist is in adoration over God’s ways, law, statutes, precepts, decrees, and commands. It is beautiful that the longest chapter in the Bible is centered on how God’s word is true and wonderful and that obedience will lead to joy and happiness.
Praying through sections of Psalm 119 has helped give me the words to ask God to bring my desire for his word to where it should be. This has never been an overnight fix but daily praying through the repetition of this Psalm has helped.
I will read one section from this Psalm, verses 33-40:
33 Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees,
that I may follow it to the end
34 Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word
38 Fulfill your promise to your servant,
so that you may be feared.
39 Take away the disgrace I dread,
for your laws are good.
40 How I long for your precepts!
In your righteousness preserve my life.
Saying this to ourselves over and over will have a positive effect. And, more important than this, God does hear our prayers. He stands at the door and knocks and praying through this chapter will soften our hearts. God will live in our hearts through his word.
The writer of this Psalm is unknown, many think either David or Ezra. Ultimately the writer knew that closeness with God is the most desirable thing and living in God’s ways will keep us on that path. God’s laws are not there to keep us from fun or good things. They are to protect us and ensure we move towards righteousness with God. Being in God’s presence is the true source of joy and happiness and the writer knows this and desires this.
I am very thankful for the grace the Lord shows on us when we fall short and for his desire to bring us back to him.