Reading: Psalm 67
Psalm 67 contains a common prayer pattern. In the opening verses, the psalmist speaks of God’s grace, blessings, and light coming to mankind. Through these gifts, mankind is drawn in and comes to know God’s ways so that salvation may come. For us, each time of extended prayer should begin the same way, by recognizing how God has worked in our lives and by allowing this to draw us close to Him.
Then the Psalm moves on to our role: praising God, being glad, and singing for joy. When we praise God, we are lifting Him up to His rightful place of majesty and power. In this is the implication of our smallness and our dependence upon God. We praise partly because we recognize our absolute need for God and also because He is just and because He guides our lives accordingly. Our praise and thanksgiving flow out of our recognition of His activity in our life so it is a natural second phase of our extended prayers.
The Psalm wraps up by recognizing that the land yields it’s harvest as God blesses us. In the psalmist day, the literal land was the source of life for the people. It was a very agrarian society. For us today, we rely on the harvest of the land too but most of us are several steps removed from the process. Today, for most of us the figurative land is our place of employment, our homes, our relationships with each other. In this sense, God continues to bless us richly with all we need. Within this also is a recognition that all comes from God; none of our blessings come solely through us. There is an interdependence between God and our lives. It is through our relationship with Him that we come to see how much God provides for us. This third part of our extended prayers is a time to recognize our connection to God.
By daily praying through these three phases or parts, we come to know God more deeply and begin to be daily transformed by His power. As we recognize His hand in our lives, as we offer our praises for this activity, and as we acknowledge our connection to and need for God’s presence and blessings in our lives, our faith deepens. This day may we each offer a prayer like Psalm 67 and through it draw closer to our God.