August 6, 2016

Psalm 131:2 But I have stilled and quietened my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.

This is the 2nd shortest chapter in the Bible (Psalm 117 has only 2 verses) but it is an excellent prelude to prayer. Often we come to God not in quiet trust but frantically, demanding to know why He hasn’t already done something. That’s not the way to grow our faith! As expressed here, what we need is the choice to be quiet before the Lord. The human will is a marvelous thing. As I keep being reminded, it is perhaps the most valuable thing in the universe, because in giving it to us God set up the necessity of His Son dying for our sins, since if we were not free to choose, “sin” would be meaningless. Used correctly, human will can lead us to repentance and faith, bringing us to eternal life in Christ. Used incorrectly, it can work unspeakable horrors. It is no accident that Leni Riefenstahl’s magnificent movie commemorating the Nazi Nuremburg rally of 1935 is called The Triumph of the Will. Today we see horrible acts of terrorism with distressing frequency, and that too is a misuse of free will. To guard against such horrors in our own lives, we need to do as the Psalmist did, choosing to quiet our souls before God so as to listen obediently to Him. If we will do that, we will find that our prayers are answered in the affirmative far more than they would be otherwise, and we will enjoy fellowship with our Creator to a degree we might not have thought possible.

I will never forget the first time I heard God speak to me in what might as well have been an audible voice (though I don’t think anyone else present would have heard it). I was praying as I drove my car (a good practice, but don’t close your eyes!) asking God to speak to me. At this point I don’t remember what point of guidance seemed so urgent to me at that moment, but I’ll never forget how God responded. I was driving alone, praying out loud nonstop, saying, “Speak to me, Lord,” when I took a breath, and in that moment the Lord said, “Well then, shut up!” Believe me, He got my attention! I received the clear revelation that frantic prayer is not believing prayer. That is in no way putting down earnest prayer. Jesus prayed so earnestly in the Garden of Gethsemane that capillaries ruptured and blood mixed with His sweat. (Luke 22:44) However, frantic prayer is questioning God’s timing, or even His ability to do what we think needs to be done. Jesus never doubted that His Father could save Him from the cross, but He chose to submit His human will to the Father to go through with what the Father knew was best. We need to follow His example, choosing to submit ourselves to God and so stand firm against the devil, (James 4:7) doing God’s will for His glory.

Father, this is a vital message. I’ve tried to communicate it to the flock here before. Some have seemed to grasp it and some haven’t, but we all need a refresher course from time to time. I am very prone to get tied in knots over scheduling! Help me indeed quiet my soul within me so that I will be able to hear You clearly, to obey You fully and with joy, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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1 Response to August 6, 2016

  1. dawnlizjones says:

    Interesting, our pastor was just this morning discussing some of the same things. I love that this verse is to be consider “an excellent prelude to prayer”. And I pray that this will continue to impact me. I have sent this to another blogger, and also sending you his link:
    Funny stuff with really profound writings also! God bless!

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