Morning: Psalm 120
Deliver Me, O LORD
A Song of Ascents.
1 In my distress I called to the LORD,
and he answered me.
2 Deliver me, O LORD,
from lying lips,
from a deceitful tongue.
3 What shall be given to you,
and what more shall be done to you,
you deceitful tongue?
4 A warrior’s sharp arrows,
with glowing coals of the broom tree!
5 Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech,
that I dwell among the tents of Kedar!
6 Too long have I had my dwelling
among those who hate peace.
7 I am for peace,
but when I speak, they are for war!
I cry out to You today in a situation that seems dark and desperate, without hope. And yet I am reminded that I have called out to You before in distress, in dire circumstances, and You have answered. I am grateful that You hear Your children’s cries and You answer them, and so I cry out to You again, trusting that You are faithful to hear me. I know this because I have seen You at work. I have seen You respond to my cries for help, and I have seen the
power of God at work to answer my prayers.
I am Your follower, Lord, but I live in a world in opposition to the gospel, filled with enemies with lying lips and deceitful tongues. I may not face physical persecution, like some of my brothers and sisters in other lands, but nonetheless I feel Satan’s attacks. The spirit of unrest is very real. The psalmist felt like an exile in a foreign land. He longed to worship with God’s people and yet found Himself surrounded by opponents. It can feel that way in 2018 in many ways. As a Christian, I am called to live as Your follower, which often seems incredibly countercultural, and it can be lonely.
Lord, as we look out, we see evil and it seems to reign everywhere. I long for peace and to see You make all things right, but I live in the tension and the waiting of that day, of Your return and that day of judgment. It could be easy to lose faith in such moments, but Father, help me to cling to the hope I have in You - when others shun me, when the decisions I make at work or school are unpopular, when I face the world’s rejection. And Father, I do pray for all people who experience unrest today. I pray for those engaged in conflict and for all
who experience the effects of war. I give thanks for our military personnel and for their bravery and courage. I ask that You would give counsel to world leaders who have to make incredibly difficult decisions. I ask for encouragement for Christians who live in places where physical persecution is very real. Would You encourage them in their weariness? Would You protect them from the enemy’ s advances? And would You use even their suffering as an avenue to proclaim the gospel to the world, especially to their oppressors?
And I pray that I would be a person of righteousness and peace - in my relationships, in my home, in my job, in my school, in my community, and in my church. If it is possible, as far as it depends on me, let me live in peace with others. I confess that this isn’t easy, because my sinful tendency is to desire unrest and conflict, to gossip and nag, to practice self-preservation in my smug self-righteousness. But this isn’t how it ought to be! Lord, would You let peace begin with me?
And I do pray for those who are enemies of the gospel, that they would come to repentance and faith, and that they would experience peace with God through Christ. Lord, and we pray this with confidence, knowing that unrest and war will not mark the days of eternity. While we can do our best, by the power of Your Spirit, to live at peace with others, we also know that conflict will exist until that day when You will return, when the Rider on the white horse will make war with evil, and the Lamb will overcome! Vengeance belongs to You, not to us. Help us to live at peace in the midst of the waiting.
Evening: Psalm 121
My Help Comes from the LORD
A Song of Ascents.
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD is your keeper;
the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8 The LORD will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.