Praying the Psalms for One Another
Using the pamphlet "Praying the Psalms Daily" and combining it with our "2020 Amber Church Prayer Reminder" which lists all the members of the church family, we encourage you to pray for each other every day. Below is the list of daily Psalms and the office or mission and the individual for each day. During this time of restricted assembly why not call, text or email the individual and let them know you prayed for them.
1 Psalm 1:1-6 Minister – Jack and Janet Seymour
2 Psalm 2:1-12 Elders – Mel Simmons, Jenn Simmons
3 Psalm 3:1-8 Trustees – David and Roxann Bailer
4 Psalm 4:1-8 Clerk – Scott Trendowski – Butch Schmidt
5 Psalm 5:1-12 Treasurer – Andy and Linda Henderson, Alex
6 Psalm 6:1-10 Financial Secretary – Duane Wright – Jason Wright
7 Psalm 7:1-17 Ministerial Relations Chair – Jenny Wright, Alex Wright
8 Psalm 8:1-9 Worship Director – Jim Seymour – Andrew Henderson
9 Psalm 9:1-9 Worship Services – David Angelo
10 Psalm 10:1-18 Sunday School JAM – Chuck and Sue Ellen Harris
11 Psalm 11:1-7 Bible Studies – Teal Trendowski – Karen Swierk
12 Psalm 12:1-8 Youth Group – Mike and Cheryl Curtis
13 Psalm 13:1-6 Christian Education Director – Kim Vile
14 Psalm 14:1-7 One-to-One Meetings – Mark and Brenda Henderson
15 Psalm 15:1-5 Women’s and Men’s Groups – Rick and Lois Chaffee
16 Psalm 16:1-11 Supper Club – Garrett Crysler
17 Psalm 17:1-15 Outreach Director – Rich and Lisa McVicar
18 Psalm 18:1-24 CCCC – Bob Post
19 Psalm 18:25-50 CNY Congregational Churches – Adele Reagan
20 Psalm 19:1-14 Neighboring Churches – Barbara D’Aiutolo
21 Psalm 20:1-9 WMHR (Wayne Taylor) – Terry Wheeler
22 Psalm 21:1-13 RBC Ministries – Jim and Gail Frary
23 Psalm 22:1-31 His Mansion – Matthew Henderson
24 Psalm 23:1-6 Teams 4 Medical Missions (John Heater) – Marilyn Fish
25 Psalm 24:1-10 New Hope (Kathy Jerman) – Dave and Kristin Heath
26 Psalm 25:1-22 Men’s and Women’s Conferences – Emma Crysler
27 Psalm 26:1-12 Young Life (Brianna Wolf) – Nancy Barber
28 Psalm 27:1-14 Schools for Haiti (Carla Flesch) – Faith Stopyro
29 Psalm 28:1-9 Teen Challenge (Dave Pilch) – Carole Ianuzi
30 Psalm 29:1-11 The ShoreLight – Mike Wheeler
31 Psalm 30:1-12 Samaritan Committee – Sherry Persad
Prayers for the Day – July 28, 2021
Our prayer-psalm today is expressed in three distinct parts. It opens with a confident reference to God in the third person. Verses 1-6 talk about God. “The LORD is my light and my salvation…the LORD is the stronghold of my life” (27:1). When the request is made it is spoken as something that we do rather than as a personal item addressed to God. “One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD…and seek him in his temple” (27:4). This prayer sounds more like the report of a previous prayer than it does our present expression.
This changes at verse 7 and the next six verses are addressed to God in the first person. “Hear my voice when I call, O LORD…be merciful to me…do not hide your face from me…do not reject me or forsake me…teach me your way, O LORD; lead me…do not turn me over to…my foes” (27:7-12).
Then the prayer ends with a return to the confident statements about God. “I am confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD…. Wait for the LORD…be strong” (27:13-14). This sounds more like a public prayer, half personal request and half instruction for others who are listening in. It reminds me that one of the best ways to learn how to pray is to listen to someone else pray. This was the experience and the request that Christ’s disciples made to him. “One day Jesus was praying…. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples’” (Luke 11:1).
Our prayers today are for the ministry of Schools for Haiti and for Faith Stopyro.
Let’s pray together.
We are praying to you, dear Father. You have heard us time and time again come with our requests. You listened and responded giving us strength to face the obstacles of life. “In the day of trouble you have kept us safe.” May the lessons that we have learned as we have walked with you be lessons that we can share with others. May our journey help others as they seek to follow you.
We are praying this also for those who minister with Schools for Haiti. May their lives testify to the children they seek to educate so that they gain more than academics and physical provisions but also see the Christian life modeled before them. We pray this as well for Faith that her life and testimony will be a witness for you and others will be encouraged as she shares her experiences with them. This we confidently ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – July 27, 2021
Most of us shy away from words like “blameless.” It is a mouthful for sure. Who of us can claim to “have led a blameless life” (26:1) or promise that we will “lead a blameless life” (26:11)? And yet this is the prayer we have before us today. It is a prayer “of David” the superscription tells us, and we know enough about David’s life to know that blameless is not an apt description of him.
Well, can we pray this prayer or not? We must be able to or God would not have inspired it and put it into our revelational prayerbook. So let’s tackle this word. It may be helpful to see how other versions of the Bible translated it. The King James Version, the Revised Standard Version and the New American Standard Bible all use the word “integrity” instead of “blameless.” That’s a good word, and it doesn’t sound quite so impossible. The Message uses the word “honest.” And isn’t that what prayer essentially is anyway, an honest statement of how we see things expressed openly to God.
There are certainly times when our own evaluation of ourselves is positive. We may have been accused of wrong behavior or cruel intentions. But we honestly didn’t do what others say we did nor did we even have mean thoughts. But our assessment doesn’t clear us. No, the only one who can clear us is God for he is the only one who knows what we have done and why we did it. So we lay ourselves and our lives before him and we do so with the commitment to continue living before him in honesty and integrity.
That is David’s prayer here and it can be ours. Here is the amazing thing. Later in the Psalms we have a rather lengthy prayer that tells the story of Israel from the exodus through the wilderness wanderings to the settlement and the period of judges. The people were not at all faithful to the God that delivered and led them. But this prayer ends with a new beginning because God “chose David his servant…to be the shepherd of his people.” And here is the final word of Psalm 78, “and David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them” (78:72). God knew who he was choosing. He who knows us best believes in us more than we do in ourselves.
Pray on, you blameless, honest folk of integrity! God stands with you. We pray too today for Young Life and Brianna Wolf, and for Nancy Barber.
Let’s pray together.
Lord, you know us backward and forward. You know all about us. You know our hearts and our history. Thank you for the forgiveness provided by Jesus. Thank you for the constant leading of your Spirit. Thank you for understanding our prayers no matter what words we use to express our thoughts. Hear us and strengthen us so that we might live lives that honor you.
We pray this also for Brianna as she continues her work with Young Life and as she begins her career as a counselor. May you use her to aid others in their own relationships and spiritual development. We pray too for Nancy as well that her life may speak more loudly than her voice with clarity and truth that will enable others to see you clearly. Hear our prayer as we speak and live in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – July 26, 2021
Today’s prayer-psalm is a good expression of hope. Of the three cardinal virtues of faith, hope and love (1 Corinthians 13:13) we tend to give the least amount of attention to hope. This prayer includes them all but seems focused on hope.
Hope acknowledges the past, the sinful past, “Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me” (25:7). There is shame associated with these thoughts so we pray “do not let me be put to shame…no one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame” (25:3).
Hope also seeks to be presently instructed in the faith. “All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful…. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way” (25:9-10). With this instruction we are then able to live in the “fear” of the Lord and walk in “his covenant” (25:14).
But hope is primarily focused on the future. And we get to the future by walking every day in step with the Lord. “Guard my life…let me not be put to shame…my hope is in you” (25:20-21). Hope exchanges the shame of the past for the “integrity and uprightness” of the future (25:21).
Our Prayer Reminder has us praying today for Emma Crysler.
Let’s pray together.
Lord, give us hope, hope in the future that better times are ahead. We want that with regard to the pandemic which is still continuing around us, but there are also a number of issues in our own corporate and personal lives that we pray will improve. We need your mercy and grace. Thank you, dear Father, because you are both loving and faithful.
We pray specifically today for Emma. Give her hope. May she know that her past sins are forgiven, her present faith strengthened, and her future assured in her belief in our Lord Jesus Christ. This we pray with confidence because you are our Lord God and this we pray in the name of Christ. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – July 25, 2021
The superscription to our prayer-psalm today tells us that David wrote it. We aren’t given the occasion, but we can make a guess from what is prayed here. I think a likely time would be the event when David brought the Ark of the Covenant up to Jerusalem. The story is recorded in 2 Samuel 6. He was unsuccessful on the first try and a man died. Then there was a three-month delay while David tried to figure out “How can the ark of the LORD ever come to me?” (2 Samuel 6:9). But after no doubt some real heart searching and prayer David makes a second try, this one was successful.
So after acknowledging that the LORD is in charge of everything, the prayer asks “Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place?” (24:3). The answer is “he who has clean hands and pure heart” (24:4). But of course no one really is that pure, that clean, that holy. True, so we must find our righteousness in the grace of God. We do so by giving him our acclaim and worship, verse 1, and by welcoming the King of glory. “Lift up your heads…that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty…the LORD Almighty is the King of glory” (24:7-10).
As those enlightened with New Testament truth we apply these words to Jesus, the king who came into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. It was at his crucifixion that the “curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Matthew 27:51) making access to the holy of holies where the ark of the covenant was kept in the temple available to all. And it is Jesus who will come again in his glory to rule and reign over all that he has made. What a song we have to sing as we pray this prayer of entrance and worship.
We are to pray today for New Hope Family Services and for Dave and Kristin Heath.
Let’s pray together.
Lord, we often feel so inadequate, so unworthy, and so confused about how to do what is right. Our good intentions at serving you so often seem to blow up in our faces. Thank you that you do not give up on us and continue to teach us and draw us to yourself. Thank you especially for Jesus. Help us to continually focus on him.
We pray for the ministry of New Hope and all the girls who find themselves in crisis pregnancies with difficult decisions to make. Give them guidance, strength and encouragement. Help them to choose life. And we pray as well for Dave and Kristin. Thank you for your grace and blessing on their lives. We thank you also for their children, Megan and Justin. Draw them to yourself as they grow and mature and move into their own independence. Give wisdom to the parents and knowledge to the kids and hold them all together in your love. This is our prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – July 24, 2021
Of all the prayer-psalms Psalm 23 is by far the most favored. Many learned it when they were children in Sunday School. (And if you go way back to when Bible reading was a routine part of public-school education some probably learned it there.) It is such a comforting prayer with the “shepherd” walking right beside us, providing for us so we “lack nothing,” …leading us as he “restores my soul,” …and guiding us “in paths of righteousness” (23:1-3). He even keeps us from the awful fears that so often accompany our having to “walk through the valley of the shadow of death” (23:4). The promise of supplying our needs when we have conflict with others is a welcome thought in the words of “preparing a table before me” (23:5). I picture a scene where all are invited to sit at the table to reconcile all differences with God himself presiding over the event.
The conclusion is an eternal joy, “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (23:6). Surely if you haven’t memorized this short prayer it would be a good time to do so.
There are a good number of hymns that have attempted to put these words to music. A couple of old ones that have stood the test of time are “The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want” written in 1650, and “The King of Love My Shepherd Is” which was written in 1868. A couple newer ones are “Surely Goodness and Mercy” written in 1958, and “The New 23rd” written in 1969. These are all in our old hymnal “The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration” if you have a copy of it. If not, you can pick one up at church as there are still a few left on the Library carts.
Our prayers today are for TEAMS for Medical Missions who work in Jamaica and for Marilyn Fish.
Let’s pray together.
Thank you, Lord God, for sending us a shepherd. Yes, you shepherded your people from the beginning, and all the way through the Old Testament you made yourself available. But then in the New Testament you identified that shepherd as Jesus, the “Good Shepherd who cares for the sheep” (John 10:11-18). Thank you for his presence still with us through the Spirit he sends as our Comforter and Guide.
We pray today for the people of Jamaica. We know that they have both physical and spiritual needs. Please provide for them through the ministry of TEAMS for Medical Missions. Be with the Heaters as they lead the volunteers each quarter. And bless Marilyn too. May she know your peace and comfort. Keep her close to you and protect us all in Jesus name. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – July 23, 2021
This is one of the most heart-wrenching prayers in all of the Bible. It is the one the gospel writers use to describe the events of Christ’s crucifixion, and the one that Jesus himself quoted from while hanging on the cross. It begins, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (22:1)?
Now certainly all of the issues and circumstances of our lives, including all of the losses we have experienced, cannot be compared with the tragedy that is the crucifixion of the Son of God. He who was innocent, “who knew no sin, became sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21). The agony that was his we can only imagine.
And yet our losses are real. Our pain is at times intense both physically and emotionally. This prayer-psalm does not diminish our grief in any way. Instead it points us to the one who knows and cares and is the only source of true relief and recovery for us. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…who…endured the cross, scorning its shame…consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:2-3).
Our prayer-psalm makes a deliberate turn halfway through and states, “I will declare your name to my brothers…I will praise you” (22:22). That determined response to suffering, even before the pain is alleviated, makes new life possible not just in the present but into the future. “Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn – for he has done it” (22:30-31). And we had a part in this story of salvation by focusing on the cross of Christ and not on ourselves.
We are to pray today for the ministry of His Mansion and for Matt Henderson.
Let’s pray together.
O Lord, how easy it is for us to forget what you endured and to think only of our own discomforts. And yet you changed the very meaning of suffering from a word describing an awful state much to be avoided, to the statement of productive self-giving for the benefit of others. Give us such a positive outlook even on our worst days. Give us Jesus.
We pray this for those at His Mansion who are in various stages of recovery from the terrible addictions that they have experienced. May you become their Savior and Lord. And for our friend Matt we pray as well that all the negatives of his life will become positives as his story becomes a part of the Jesus story. Bless him we pray in Christ’s name. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – July 22, 2021
“O LORD, the king rejoices in your strength…You have granted him the desire of his heart…you welcomed him with rich blessings…he asked for life, and you gave it to him – for ever and ever” (21:1-4). The beginning of this prayer-psalm reminds me of a friend of mine who always responds when I ask him how he is, “Better than I deserve.” That is true of us all. This prayer of David acknowledges that God has treated him better than he ever deserved. “Surely you have granted him eternal blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence” (21:6).
The latter half of the prayer speaks of the Lord’s treatment of his enemies. There is an assurance that ultimate judgment is in the hands of God and it is sure. God’s enemies are presumably our enemies and, in a world where evil seems so often to be winning, we take comfort in the knowledge that justice will prevail. So we say, “Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength; we will sing and praise your might” (21:13).
We are to pray today for the work of RBC Ministries, the publisher of the devotional guides “Our Daily Bread.” You can check out additional resources from them both on the literature tables at church and online (www.gospel.com). We are also to pray today for Jim and Gail Frary.
Let’s pray together.
Lord, we are grateful that you do not treat us as our sins deserve. We thank you for your mercy and for your grace. We have experienced so much goodness at your hand. We pray that we will be more aware of your involvement in our lives and that we will be more prompt to acknowledge you and thank you both privately and publicly.
We thank you for the daily encouragement of others and for the reminders that are ours in the devotional literature that is provided to us free of charge. We pray your provision for the ministry of RBC. We say thank you also for our friends Jim and Gail. Bless them both and give them an increased appreciation for your love and gifts to them. Continue to use them to help others in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – July 21, 2021
This is obviously a prayer spoken for others. While it is true that we need to pray for ourselves and especially so when we wrestle with issues that cause us distress, yet we are also instructed to pray for one another. The Apostle James wrote, “pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16). Psalm 20 does so. It begins “May the LORD answer you when you are in distress” (20:1). In the first 5 verses there are ten references to “you” or “your.” It is a personal request for a personal acquaintance.
Our confidence in praying for each other comes from our knowledge that “the LORD saves his anointed; he answers…with the saving power of his right hand” (20:6) So while others may rely on physical resources “we trust in the name of the LORD our God” (20:7). Perhaps as we pray for each other we can also transmit to them at least a portion of the confidence that we have in Jesus. May our prayers carry those who are in distress until they too regain their place of assurance. So, who are you praying for today?
Our Prayer Reminder tells us to pray for our friends at WMHR and for Terry Wheeler.
Let’s pray together.
Lord, we come to you today not for ourselves but for our friends. We pray for the ministry of WMHR. Thank you for the Christian programing that they offer. Please meet their needs financially so that they can continue to minister to so many across our State.
We pray too for Terry. We ask not only for his physical and spiritual health and that of his family, but we also pray for him in his responsibilities as chairman of the Board of Trustees. Thank you for his willingness to serve and use him in the life of our church family.
Now there may also be someone that you have placed on the heart of each one reading this prayer this morning. Perhaps it is a family member, a friend, a neighbor or a work associate. Hear us as we name that person to you and ask for your grace and strength in their specific situation. This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
"Lord, lay some soul upon my heart, and love that soul through me;
And may I nobly do my part to win that soul for Thee."
(Leon Tucker, #313 in The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration)
Prayers for the Day – July 20, 2021
Our prayer-psalm for today is clearly divided into two distinct sections. It is a prayer about the revelation of God. It starts, “The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (19:1). The first 6 verses continue this theme praising God for the creation of the world. It is difficult to look at the world around us and not understand that there must have been a Creator to call all of this into existence. That Creator is God. The word that is used in verse 1 is the generic Hebrew word for God “El.” God has revealed his existence in what he has made (see Romans 1:18-20).
Starting at verse 7 the focus of God’s revelation changes from that which has been made all around us to that which is more directly revealed through the word of God. This section praises God for the revealing of himself in the pages of Scripture. It is called here “the law of the LORD…the statues of the LORD…the precepts of the LORD…the commands of the LORD…the ordinances of the LORD” (19:7-9). This is a different kind of revelation and a different kind of information. It is in the Bible that we are told about God’s plan for the world and for mankind. Here we read of sin and salvation, of relationship with God. Knowledge gained from observing creation only leads us to an awareness that there must be a God, but the knowledge gained from the Scriptures leads us to a relationship with that personal God (see 2 Timothy 3:14-17).
The Hebrew name for God changes in this second half. No longer is the word “El” used but now the word is “Yahweh,” the personal name by which God wants to be known. It is the same God. These are not two different Gods, but the prayer moves from information to relationship.
This prayer ends with our words and our hearts being opened to God our Creator and our Redeemer. “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer” (19:14)
We are to pray this prayer today for Barbara D’Aiutolo.
Let’s pray together.
LORD God, our Creator and Redeemer, thank you for revealing yourself to us. Thank you that the evidence of your existence is everywhere around us so that every eye can see you and know that there is a God. And we are especially grateful that you took us beyond this general revelation as you revealed yourself to us in words, in the personal Word. You explained yourself and us and life. You introduced us to the message of sin and salvation. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
We pray a grateful prayer today for Barbara. You have revealed yourself to her as well and have gifted her with a delightful expression of your love in Charlotte. We ask that you grace her with your strength and show her the glory of walking in relationship with you. Bless her and her family in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – July 19, 2021
The latter half of this prayer-psalm sings the victory that God provides. It is all his doing. Verses 25-26 set the stage. “To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.”
There is a cause and effect reality to life. As Christians it isn’t our wisdom and strength that wins the day. No, it is always God who is in charge of the affairs of life. He determines the outcomes. What do we bring to the table? Nothing but faith. The basic principle of life is that God relates to each person in the same way that we choose to relate to him. These verses remind me of the Apostle Paul’s “trustworthy statement” in 2 Timothy 2:11-13. “If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us, if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”
This is one of life’s intrinsic realities. As followers of God we are to humbly bow before him and pray “keep my lamp burning” (18:28) as “I sing praises to your name” (18:49).
Our prayers today are for Adele Reagan.
Let’s pray together.
Lord, the world today, our world, is crazy and seems out of control. And yet we acknowledge that it is not you who has messed up all this, it is us. We are the faithless ones. So we cry out to you today for healing. As the father who requested Christ to heal his son said, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). And that is what we need. We need a strengthening of our faith, our confidence in you, our ability to see you as the victor over all life’s problems.
We pray this pray for Adele as well. Give her strength and faith and confidence and hope in the midst of her life issues. Thank you for her presence in our church family and provide her with all that she needs for life. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – July 18, 2021
The superscription of this prayer-psalm provides the setting for when David wrote these words. They were his prayer when he was on the run from Saul who was seeking to kill him. I have never been in such a circumstance, but I suppose this prayer can apply to any situation when we are facing enemies, either individuals or even the enemies of sickness or temptation. Our approach to trying times carry great similarities. Before moving beyond the superscription, I note that it is put to music as it was “for the director of music” and “he sang to the LORD the words of this song.” Another reminder of the benefits that music can bring to our prayers.
How do we survive these difficult times? What do we pray? David stated his situation clearly yet in words of confident praise to “the LORD…my rock, my fortress and my deliverer” (18:2). And what gave him such confidence? Verses 7 through 15 refer to three different Bible stories of God’s deliverance to folk in history. Verses 7-11 recall Exodus 19:16-19 and the scene of God coming down on the mountain prior to the giving of the Ten Commandments. Verses 12-14 describe what occurred in Joshua 10:11 when The Lord caused hailstones to defeat the Gibeonites in the story when the sun stood still. Verse 15 describes the actions of the Lord that divided the Red Sea for the Israelites to pass through as they escaped from Egypt (Exodus 14:21-28). The point is that if we are going to face our struggles in a positive and confident manner then one of the things we need to do is become familiar with our Bibles. These stories of deliverance are not tales for our entertainment but as the Apostle Paul wrote, “Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
Before praying together let’s note the wonderful statement in verse 19, “He rescued me because he delighted in me.” Have you ever thought about how much God delights in you? Amazing isn’t it!
We are reminded to pray today for our Conference and for our most senior member, Bob Post.
Let’s pray together.
We start our prayer by quoting the words of this psalm, “I love you, O LORD, my strength.” It seems the only appropriate response to make to the God who not only delivers us but “delights” in us. May we rejoice, even in our times of struggle, because we have you. Thank you also for the Scriptures which give us revealed truth in practical stories upon which we may base our lives. Thank you, Father.
We pray today for our Conference. We thank you for this association of churches and ministers as they can provide to us both support and encouragement. We ask your blessing on our churches across the country which are seeking to follow you and declare your truth in word and deed. Thank you also for Bob Post. He is in his 101st year. Thank you for his health and stamina, for his pleasant heart and constant faith. Be with those who care for him and grant them all your peace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – July 17, 2021
Our prayer-psalm this morning begins with the cry to God to be heard. “O LORD…listen to my cry…give ear to my prayer” (17:1). This is an honest prayer that “does not rise from deceitful lips” (17:1). To be sure, none of us is either totally innocent before the Lord nor is capable of knowing our own hearts. We are not good judges of character, including our own. The prophet Jeremiah wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it” (Jeremiah 17:9)? That being said, we still are encouraged to cry out to God and to describe things as we see them.
In our prayer today we ask God to “probe my heart…examine me…and test me” (17:3). We are quite sure that we have kept ourselves from “sin…and the ways of the violent” (17:4). We have “held to your paths…and have not slipped” (17:5). How have we achieved such consistent behavior? I want to suggest that it is because we have intentionally kept the message of God in our hearts and minds.
Verses 7-8 contain direct quotations from two different passages of Scripture, Exodus 15 and Deuteronomy 32. These are both songs, the New International Version titles them both as “The Song of Moses.” The first one was written after the exodus from Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea. The second one is from the end of Moses life when he gave his final instructions to the people prior to his death. The point I want to make is that they were both songs. Music is a great way to keep the message of God in our minds. The tune aids in our ability to memorize. And here in Psalm 17 David remembers a couple of lines from these old songs and they helped him to keep faith and to stay true to his commitment. Why not add a daily hymn to your morning prayer time. Those words just may stay in your mind more easily than a verse of Scripture.
Our prayers are to be shared today for our Outreach Director, Cathy Smith, and for Rich and Lisa McVicar.
Let’s pray together.
Lord, keep us from wandering. Hold us to the confession that we have made. There are several ways to aid in our accountability and today we are reminding ourselves of a couple of them. We are starting the day with a prayer-psalm. We are going to find a song to sing and we ask you to keep its message in our mind all day. And we are going to pray for one another.
We do so now for Cathy. Give her strength and assurance. Thank you for sustaining her in a job where so many of the employees were laid off during the pandemic. And as we thank you for providing for her, we also are reminded that Rich has recently started his full-time employment after years of working part-time jobs. Thank you for supplying their needs even in unexpected ways. Keep us all growing in faith, connected to each other, and confident of the future. We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – July 16, 2021
This is a great prayer-psalm to pray during any time of difficulty when you are feeling afraid. It starts, “Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge” (16:1). Watching the news can make us conscious of our vulnerability in this world of sickness and violence. Those seem to be the two main types of stories reported each evening.
Yes, there is good reason for us to be cautious. But at the same time, we can also offer a prayer of thanks as we realistically face each new day. This psalm gives us several clear items for our prayerful focus. Let me list them as I see them emerge in the following verses.
The church family that provides encouragement and joy – “the saints…the glorious ones in whom is all my delight” (16:3).
The determination to not be distracted by false gods and faulty solutions – “I will not pour out libations to other gods…or take up their names on my lips” (16:4).
The joy of my home and history – “the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places…I have a delightful inheritance” (16:6).
The reality of God’s presence with me at all times – “the LORD counsels me…instructs me…he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken” (16:7-8).
The assurance that we can face even death unafraid – “my body will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave” (16:9-10).
The eternal joy that awaits me in the life to come – “you have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy…with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (16:11).
We can offer this prayer because we started by saying “to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing’” (16:2). In other words, we have chosen to make God the Master of our lives and he then hears and answers our prayers.
We pray today for our church relationships and for Garrett Crysler.
Let’s pray together.
Father in heaven we thank you for your loving care and protection of us your servants. We acknowledge that we don’t deserve your mercy and grace, yet how blessed we are. Give us a better appreciation of how you have kept us and continue to keep us in the palm of your hand.
As we pray these thankful words for ourselves we ask that you also make us mindful of our brothers and sisters in the church family as they seek to walk with you. We pray especially for our brother Garrett. May we all grow in our faith and understanding so that we experience a genuine appreciation of the present and gain the confidence of a future which will include a “fullness of your joy.” This is our prayer in the name of Jesus our Lord and Savior. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – July 15, 2021
After just praying Psalm 14 with its declaration that “there is no one who does good, not even one” (14:3), today’s prayer-psalm seems to imply that we can actually be “blameless” (15:1). How can both be true?
Although we have no superscription information that provides an occasion for this writing, we are told it is “a psalm of David.” That is a little helpful. It very well may be that David wrote this prayer after the events of 2 Samuel 6:9-12. That is the story of his attempt to bring the Ark of the Covenant up to Jerusalem so that it could be housed in a permanent worship place, the temple. That would be the “sanctuary…on your holy hill” (15:1). But things didn’t go well on this move and according to the account in 2 Samuel 6:7 “The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God.” David is “angry” and “afraid” we are told. He was trying to do something good, something religious, and yet although well intentioned a man still died.
David’s prayer then asks who could possibly be worthy enough to give to God the kind of worship that he deserves? Who is holy enough? And although he describes such a person in this prayer-psalm the reality is that that person doesn’t exist.
The rest of the story in 2 Samuel 6 tells us that David’s second try is successful. It wasn’t because he became a perfect person but because his next attempt was done from a heart of repentance and a practice of sacrifice. In New Testament words we would say that he learned, and hopefully we have as well, that we can pray this prayer only because Jesus is that blameless person and we enter the presence of God in the sacrifice of Christ. We pray with the awareness that life itself is all about God and only Jesus is good.
Our Prayer Reminder has us praying for our men’s and women’s groups and for Lois and me. Let me say in advance, thank you for your prayers.
Let’s pray together.
Lord, it is you to whom we pray, you who we desire to be like, you who is the only one worthy. Teach us that life is not about us but always about you. May we learn these lessons from these Bible stories lest we be doomed to repeat them and hurt both ourselves and others in the process. O Lord, forgive us and in forgiving us change us.
We ask for each of the small groups within our church family that provide support and encouragement to each other. We are just coming out of the times of more profound restrictions with regard to our gatherings. Remind us to still seek to take care of each other. Help us to remember those in need and give us prayerful hearts. I thank you for all who pray for me in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – July 14, 2021
Our prayer-psalm today is an in-your-face kind of pronouncement. “The LORD looks down from heaven…to see if there are any who understand…who seek God. All have turned aside…there is no one who does good, not even one” (14:2-3). That is quite a board condemnation, “No one…not even one.” Surely this must be an exaggeration, a statement made for effect. But there is no indication that these words are some kind of figure of speech. In fact, it is repeated word for word in Psalm 53 and quoted by the Apostle Paul in Romans 3:10-12. I’m afraid it is the clear indictment by God on all mankind.
How are we to pray this? Why would we express these words to God? I can only say that they need to be our confession. We are, I am, the one who has turned away. I skipped over the first verse, so let me back up to comment on that one. “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” This is the beginning place of all evil, “in our heart.” The heart describes the deepest part of us, the place that is the seat of all our beliefs. It is here that we say, “there is no God.” We may not voice this out loud. Others may not know what we truly believe. But unless we make this confession to God about ourselves then we are in essence merely closet atheists. Once we have confessed to our self-centered preoccupation with trying to be the God of our own lives, and only then, can we begin to learn to “call on the LORD” (14:4). It is then that we can look with hope to the future “when the LORD restores the fortunes of his people” (14:7).
We are to pray today for Mark and Brenda Henderson and our small group studies.
Let’s pray together.
O Lord, give us a true picture of ourselves. Help us to see our sinfulness for what it is and not try to excuse it away or justify it. We stand guilty before you. We do not want to bow the knee to you. Change us by your grace. Help us to see that it is only through confession that we can gain forgiveness and relationship with you. Draw us back to yourself.
We pray this not just for ourselves but for all who profess to know and follow you. May our hearts not speak a different language than our mouths. We pray this for Mark and Brenda. Give to them not only an awareness of themselves but even more important, a true awareness of you. Strengthen them as they seek to follow you. And do that for all who earnestly desire an accountable lifestyle that glorifies you. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – July 13, 2021
This is a short prayer-psalm, just six verses. That in itself is a positive thing since four times in the first two verses we pray the words, “How long?” “How long” is a question that people ask when they are living before the promise of something good. How long do we have to wait, to endure, to suffer, before something happens that ends all of this pain? And while we are waiting we also throw in questions like “Will you forget me forever?... Will you hide your face from me?...Must I wrestle with my thoughts?...Will my enemy triumph over me?” (13:1-2). This is not the kind of waiting that is like the old Heinz ketchup ad that showed their thick and delicious tomato condiment coming out of the bottle in slow motion to a waiting hamburger while everyone’s mouth watered with anticipation.
No, this is the “How long” of those who live with disappointment and loss. It is the prayer of the sick who wonder if they will recover or even want to. The ones whose hearts have been broken by divorce or death pray this prayer as they try to see some hopeful sign that life is still worth living. “How long…How long…How long?”
Yet the prayer ends with the great conjunction of contrast, the little word “But.” “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me” (13:5-6). Is the person praying the first part of this psalm the same person who prays the last part? Yes, it can be. No matter how long the “How long” lasts there is always hope because there is always God’s unfailing love. I know it sounds crazy, but let’s sing.
Our prayers are for Kim Vile today.
Let’s pray together.
Lord, there have been many times in our lives when we have wondered and prayed “How long” prayers. Some of us are still praying them. Perhaps the pain of waiting is our own. Sometimes we pray for a friend or loved one who seems to be stuck in the “how long” time frame. Hear us as we pray these waiting prayers. Show us your “unfailing love…your salvation.” Give us that divine perspective that you have been “good to us.”
We pray this also for Kim. She has known the long nights of stress and waiting as she cared for both her mom and dad as they slowly aged and passed away. No doubt there have been other long and waiting times for her as well. We pray that your grace and love will become abundantly evident to her as you meet her needs and longings in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – July 12, 2021
“Help, LORD” (12:1). That is how are prayer-psalm starts. It reminds me of Anne Lamott’s book “Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers.” How often do we pray this prayer, a prayer by those who basically don’t know what to do or even what to ask for so they simply cry out for divine assistance.
The situation in this prayer seems particularly dark as “the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men” (12:1). In other words, we don’t feel as though we have any support, no church friends who rally to our aid. We stand alone against a world of liars. “Everyone lies to his neighbor” (12:2). Yes, and we struggle sometimes to even know who in this world of competing truth claims not only knows God’s truth but actually cares to speak this truth in a compassionate way. There is little evidence of the kind of truth that the New Testament speaks of around us today (Ephesians 4:15). Yes, we can agree with this prayer that “the wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men” (12:8).
Still we pray. We cry for help. And today we cry for our youth and for Mike and Cheryl Curtis.
Let’s pray together.
O Father in heaven, we cry out to you in the midst of a world of lies and unrest. It is often so difficult for us to discern truth in the midst of all the competing voices. But these are serious times and there are serious issues at hand. The seriousness of life confronts us, not just in political differences but in the reality of the brevity of our life span. O Lord, please help us. Make your truth evident to your people. Keep us from the deceivers, the wicked who “freely strut about when what is vile is honored” (12:8).
We pray for clarity in our world especially for our youth. They are just beginning to listen and think about the big issues of life. Make yourself known to them and keep them from the discouragement of Christian inconsistences. We pray too for Mike and Cheryl that you would protect them and guide them as people of influence in their family, their neighborhood, and their church. “Keep us safe and protect us” all we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – July 11, 2021
“In the LORD I take refuge” (11:1). That is a great beginning to our prayer-psalm. Refuge is a secure place in the midst of trouble. And there is trouble all around. But since God is our refuge “how can you say to me: ‘Flee like a bird to your mountain’” (11:1). Why would anyone run away and hide when there is no place as secure as being in the very presence of God?
That is the question we ask even though we acknowledge that “the wicked bend their bows…to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart” (11:2). Yes, the world does seem like it is not a safe place. Indeed, “when the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do” (11:3)? Our world seems like that doesn’t it. People are drawn up in antagonistic camps in many places across the world and even in our own country there is a clear political divide. And despite the fact that Christians have the Word of God before them our institutions seem to lack a clarion call that would unite the nation. Where is God in all of this?
“The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD is on his heavenly throne” (11:4). He hasn’t moved or gone anywhere. He isn’t nervous and threatened by evil. “He observes…and examines” (11:4-5). “The LORD is righteous, he loves justice; upright men will see his face” (11:7). The upright men are the ones who said at the beginning of our prayer “In the LORD I take refuge.” There is no cause for fear. So let’s take this prayer of ours and sing it out just as David did when he submitted it to “the director of music.” Let’s join him in this confident song.
Today we are praying for our regular Church Bible Studies and for Teal Trendowski and Karen Swierk.
Let’s pray together.
Hear our prayer today, O Lord God Almighty. You rest supreme above the fray, always in control, unmoved by the anger and dysfunction of the wicked. We thank you that we can rest in you. We are safe in your temple. You are our refuge; may we always know that security.
Enlighten us as we meet together for Bible study. Bless, O God, our Friday Bible Study and our Adult Sunday School class. May they be places of learning, encouragement and strength. We also pray that you would provide to Teal and to Karen the confidence that only you can give as they seek to live for you in this world of discord and insecurity. Give them the stability that only people of faith know. This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.