July 22 – Praying Through the Psalms – Psalm 23

Read Psalm 23:1-6

Have you pressed into God’s goodness to see what it really means to you?

I once heard a worship leader who I admire say, “Sometimes my most bold stance of faith looks like believing He is good enough for me to come to Him with my disappointments and find Him there. Sometimes it has looked like being sad and finding a shepherd there ready to hold me; a comforter who is comfortable with pain. Finding the shepherd who knows how to lead us through a valley so that we don’t stop and make a home in the valley, but will walk us through it. Is He good enough for you to be rested in His grasp?”

When I heard that statement, I thought of Psalm 23. I think most always when I hear the word “shepherd,” I think of it.

I remember being in Israel at the end of my Great Commission Bible Institute year, in Bethlehem overlooking a field. My pastor, at that time, who spent the year teaching us, began to teach again. He asked us to take out our Bibles and turn to Psalm 23 and he began to show us what being a shepherd to sheep looks like…and then, it came to life.

Here is my prayer; Where is your heart after reading Psalm 23?

(vs1-2) Father, help me to give up control of my life and lean on the truth that You are all I need. You are more than enough for me and in You, I have everything. No matter how many times I forget that You are good, thank you for leading me and guiding me back to You and always calming my mind when it begins to wander.

(Vs3-4) Lord, You call me holy and make me new. May I walk behind You and follow Your path and always choose righteousness for Your glory and Your glory alone. Though at times I walk with sadness and disappointments, thank you for always being next to me. Thank you for always reminding me that You are my protector, You are my comforter, You are the only one who can bring me peace.

(Vs5-6) You are preparing a place for me. A feast of all feasts and, even though I have enemies, even though I can be my own worst enemy, You remind me that all of me is welcome to Your table. That I don’t have to hide any part of me because You’ve created every part. You never let go and always provide above and beyond my expectations. Your grace is sufficient, Your love is measureless and nothing can separate me from You. Help me to continue to run towards Your pursuit, to not hold on to this life and what’s in it but to look forward to where I was intended to be and live in that hope.

Help me keep my eyes on You.

Amen.

Kelly Lawson

July 21 – Praying Through the Psalms – Psalm 19

Read Psalm 19:1-14

I recently listened to an interview with an author who specializes in writing memoirs. She said what keeps her reading someone’s memoir is not their troublesome story, but rather, what has kept the author’s ‘pilot light’ lit in the midst of their troublesome story.

I need God’s voice. I need His words to fuel my ‘pilot light’ in the worst of windy storms.

Prayer is as much talking to God as listening to Him. This Psalm is all about His voice. I’m so thankful that He is a generous God who is willing to speak to us through His creation, word, and spirit.

 Psalm 19

 1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.

They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.

Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.

In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.

It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.

God, thank you for reminding me of your power and beauty in creation. You spoke the world into being. You hold all things together. I’m in awe of your creativity, enormity, vastness, and generosity. I need to know you are with me. When I look at the stars they tell me that you are a genius. When I feel the warmth of the sun I am reminded of your love for me. When I watch it rise and set I am reminded of your control and consistency. Nothing is too hard for you.

7 The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.

God, forgive me for doubting your word. All of the refreshment I need is found in your words. As I spend time reading your words, build my trust in you. Help me to do what you say and walk in the wisdom of your perfect words.

The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

God, your words are always right. I want to be right in my dealings with others, in my relationship with you, in business and in rest. I want to be aligned with your word. Thank you for the joy that comes when I surrender to your word. Thank you for directing my every step as I listen to you.

The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.

10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.

I am in awe of you, Lord. I want my life to agree with everything you say. Thank you for the promise of eternity with you and for giving me a firm place to stand. Nothing is more precious or sweeter than your words to me.

11 By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

12 But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.

13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.

God, help me heed the warnings you give me in your word. Thank you for promising an eternal reward for obedience to you. Forgive me for the things I do that I shouldn’t do and for not doing the things that I should. Show me my sins and give me the courage to turn from them. Thank you for your patience and grace. Keep moving me to deeper surrender and faith in you. I want to live and love like Jesus.

14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Father, I see you through creation. I hear you in your word. I see you and you see and know me. Nothing is hidden from your sight. May the resounding music of my heart and mind be pleasing to you. You are my Lord. You are my Rock. You are my Redeemer.

Amen.

 Shelly Eberly

July 20 – Praying Through the Psalms – Psalm 8:3-9

Read Psalm 8:3–9

Did you ever ask yourself, “Why am I here? What’s the purpose of my life? What am I doing on earth anyway?” Sooner or later, all of us ponder those issues. The Psalmist answered those questions in the 8th Psalm.

King David also looked around at creation and wondered about the significance of his existence on earth.  Then he came to a crucial conclusion: If we do not see ourselves as the handiwork of the God who knows all there is to know about us, life will seem meaningless.

In Kingdoms in Conflict, author Chuck Colson wrote that the prevailing view of modern scientists is that:

“A chance collision of atoms created life. Subsequent mutations over thousands of years evolved into the extraordinarily complex creature we know as a man. If this is true, man is nothing more than an accident that started as slime or, as one theologian has put it, we are but grown-up germs. Our intuitive moral sense rejects such a trashing of human dignity.“

Yet David was clear-headed about all of this. Even though you and I have been made “a little lower than the heavenly beings,” in God’s sovereign plan, He crowned us “with glory and honor.” In other words, we were created by God and for God. The Apostle Paul said it like this, “…All things have been created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16b – NIV).

As our Creator, God has given us a primary responsibility in life: we are to “rule” over His creation (cf. Genesis 1:28). Some call this having “dominion“ over the earth.  Others call it “creation care.”  Whatever name you give it, it means to manage the resources God has given us in this life. That includes everything we possess in life – family, time, money, health, possessions, job, friendships … everything that we call “ours” actually belongs to God.  Throughout life, we should ask, “Lord, what do you want me to do with what belongs to you?”  When you see your life through that lens, it shapes how you spend your time and energy.

In the 19th Century, a Sunday School teacher invested his time in a Boston shoe clerk and led him to Christ.  The clerk’s name was D. L. Moody.  Moody became a great evangelist who influenced a young preacher named F.B. Meyer.  During a meeting on a college campus, Meyer brought J. Wilbur Chapman to Jesus.  Chapman became involved with the YMCA and arranged for a former baseball player named Billy Sunday to come to Charlotte, NC for a revival meeting.  Several business leaders were so enthused about the results of the meeting that they invited Evangelist Mordecai Ham to preach in that city.  In the following meeting, a young man named Billy Graham yielded his life to Christ.

So the next time you wonder about the meaning of your life, remember: God put you here for a reason. He wants you to know Him and manage what He has entrusted to you – your life, your time, your resources, and your money – all need to be invested for His glory.

That sounds like a big job to me! It’s a job that will take a lifetime.

Bob Fetterhoff

July 19 – Praying Through the Psalms – Psalm 8:3-4

Read Psalm 8:3-4

I’m not much of an astronomer. I can pick out a few constellations on a cloudless night, like the Big Dipper, Little Dipper, Orion, and the North Star, but that’s about it.

Yet, like the Psalmist, I am fascinated by God’s creative handiwork in the heavens. I feel like King David when I consider what He has created. I am both amazed and mystified. And I’m not alone.

Just ponder these observations about the sky above us:

“If the Milky Way galaxy were the size of the entire continent of North America, our solar system would fit in a coffee cup… Yet this vast neighborhood of our sun- in truth the size of a coffee cup – fits along with several hundred billion such galaxies in the universe. To send a light – speed message to the edge of the universe would take 15 billion years!” (Philip Yancey).

“One of the objects relatively near to us, a star named Epsilon, is actually larger than the orbit of the planet Pluto in our solar system! If it were hollow, it could contain more than 2.3 billion of our suns!“ (James Dobson).

“Why is the sun 12,000° hot? Why not 1200°… Or 120,000°… Or 24,000°? Why was the earth fixed at exactly the right distance away so that we could have a pleasant temperature this morning? Why not twice as far, twice as close, or 1000 times as far? Answer: because all life would perish…. This planet was designed by God so that it would support one thing:  life. Without life, earth would be another planetary wasteland… Why life? Because only through life can matter understand God and glorify its maker! Only through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can the designed know and glorify the Designer” (Chuck Swindoll).

This is what David understood!  The glory of the universe not only points to the ability of the Creator, but also reminds us that He created it all for us to enjoy!  It is His masterpiece which reminds us of His ability and calls us to worship Him.

Author and Pastor, Max Lucado, wrote, “We live in an art gallery of divine creativity.”  19th Century British historian and mathematician, Thomas Carlyle, said, “The universe is but one vast symbol of God.” The great American inventor and scientist, George Washington Carver, said: “I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.”

So are you tuned in to God’s channel?  Tonight … or tomorrow night … or whenever it’s clear again… take a walk outside and say to your Creator, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have set in place, who am I that you would love me enough to make it possible for me to have a relationship with you?” And worship Him!

Bob Fetterhoff

July 18 – Praying Through the Psalms – Psalm 8:1-2

Read Psalm 8:1-2

No doubt about it! Psalm 8 is one of my favorites – especially verse 2:  “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise.” Talk about a great reminder of both the simplicity and grandeur of worshiping our Creator!

I love the words to an anthem that our choir used to sing: “O Lord, our God, the majesty and glory of your name; transcends the earth and fills the heavens. O Lord, our God; little children praise You perfectly, And so would we.”

It’s such a delight when my grandchildren sing worship songs which they’ve been taught by their parents or that they’ve learned at church. My wife has taught them (and hundreds of other kids) to worship God by singing, “Lord, You are more precious than silver. Lord, You are more costly than gold. Lord, You are more beautiful than diamonds. And nothing I desire compares with You.”  That brings tears to my eyes!

So what can you and I learn from children about worship? Let me suggest the following things…

  1. Children worship with a great sense of wonder. Have you walked outside on a starry night with a five-year-old recently? As you looked into the sky together, you both probably exclaimed, “Wow!” One of the tragedies of life is that we lose that sense of wonder as we get older. This psalm prods us back to the wonder of God’s creative power all around us.
  2. Children also worship God with a great sense of energy. Children at Grace Church have learned much about worshipping God from energetic leaders like Pastor Randy Moomaw and his sons, Kyle and Tyler. It’s common to hear children singing loudly when I walk past a classroom on Sunday morning. I love that!! The Apostle Paul wrote: “Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you. God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure” (Phil. 2:12b-13 MSG). Too often I’ve watched adults who are supposed to be worshiping God look like they ate pickles for breakfast.  What a tragedy!
  3. Children also worship God with a great sense of trust. That’s why a toddler will jump into your arms in a swimming pool! They trust easily. Jesus said we need that same kind of trust in God: “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven“ (Matthew 18: 3b NIV).

So, as you go through this day, ask yourself: “Is my worship of my Creator characterized by that same sense of wonder, energy, and trust?”  If not, why not?

Bob Fetterhoff

July 17 – Praying Through the Psalms – Psalm 1

Read Psalm 1:1-6

Prayer, that intimate conversation between us and our Heavenly Father. Some days it is full of requests, some days questions, other days praise… as we pray through Psalm 1 let it guide our conversation with God today.  Let’s read through Psalm 1; after that I have written my prayer… feel free to pray through that or use the Psalm to launch into your own conversation with our Abba Father.

Blessed is the one

who does not walk in step with the wicked

or stand in the way that sinners take

or sit in the company of mockers,

but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,

and who meditates on his law day and night.

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,

which yields its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither—

whatever they do prospers.

Not so the wicked!

They are like chaff

that the wind blows away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,

but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

Father I want to live my life in blessing and contentment… I know that this comes only from following you.  Show me the areas of my life where my actions need to resemble your actions, my choices to be led by your desires and my closest friends to be those who follow you.  Forgive me for those times when this is not the case.

Thank you for your Word, I need to spend more time reading, memorizing and soaking it in to be more like you.  Show me what my next step is to do this. What is one passage that I should memorize so that I may meditate on it throughout the day and when lying awake at night…maybe it is Psalm 1?

I want to be like that tree planted by a stream, its roots reaching down to the cool life-giving water,  bearing fruit for Your kingdom, and prospering when I minister to people.

God, I pray for my friends and neighbors who don’t know you.  Unless they turn to You, their life on this earth will be unfulfilled and their eternity will be spent away from You, Jesus, in a terrible place built for the devil and his angels.  Remind me of that in my next conversation with them.  Grant me boldness in my words and help me make the most of every opportunity.

Heavenly Father, I am so thankful that you watch over the ways of the righteous, with the intensity, passion and tenderness that You and only You are able to do.  I want to do the hard work and discipline myself to live in a manner worthy of the calling I have received. Use me today to encourage those around me and use my life in whatever way will bring you glory.

Amen

Randy Moomaw

June 1 – Praying Through the Psalms – Psalm 145

Read Psalm 145:1-21

Have you ever experienced something so great that you had to share all about it to everyone you see? It could be a favorite restaurant with the best burger you’ve ever eaten, a movie theater with the most comfortable chairs you’ve ever sat in, or the best hotel that had the most wonderful service you’ve ever experienced! When we know something is great, we talk about it!

In Psalm 145, David can’t stop talking about his incredible and amazing God! There are 21 verses that the psalmist declares he will exalt and praise God. That He is a mighty King, worthy of all glory! He says that no one can measure His greatness and that it’s a name so good every generation to come will know it. David had experienced something SO GOOD that he couldn’t stop talking about it!

If you were to flip through the pages of my Bible, you’d see every pen color in the rainbow and more- circles and boxes around specific words, underlines, scribbles, notes, and doodles galore! The book of Psalms has crinkled pages because of the marks I’ve made throughout each chapter. God has used these chapters to transform my heart and I don’t ever want to forget those moments, so I jot them down! The biggest reason I love this book of the Bible is because of chapters like Psalm 145. There are one-hundred and forty-four chapters before it that contain poems of hurt, pain, confession, praise, wisdom and so much more that always lead right back to the reason we have hope. Every chapter points our eyes directly to the goodness of God and the thousands of reasons that He deserves all the glory and all our praise on this side of Heaven and for all eternity.

Even when things don’t seem good, God gives us so many reasons to worship and praise Him for how He has loved us and continues to care for us every single day. As you pray through Psalm 145, I want to challenge you to thank God for the moments in your life that you’ve seen Him move. It could be big moments that changed the course of where life was headed or a small moment that reminded you just how big God’s love is for you. Then, take a moment to read through these 21 verses and THANK God for each thing!

Becca Harbaugh

May 31 – Praying Through the Psalms – Psalm 90

Read Psalm 90:1-17

Do you ever catch yourself wandering down the road of worry and “what-if?” It’s easy to let ourselves slip into thinking so far ahead that we lose ourselves amidst the unknown. I remember being a small child laying in bed at night, on multiple occasions, dreading the fact that I had to grow up. I cried at the thought of growing old and losing the things around me that I knew to be true. My parents would explain to me that growing up and entering new phases of life was how life worked. In our humanity we are unable to stay in any moment forever, and yet this Psalm reminds us, that in that truth, God has been and will be our dwelling place from everlasting to everlasting (v. 1-2). Though our moments are fleeting, our God remains steadfast. In each new phase of life, in each new day, in each new moment- God upholds us with exactly what we need.

I think this Psalm reminds us of our frailty in comparison to God’s strength and might. He is in control of our days and our future. We need only trust that he’ll provide for each new day exactly what is needed. As you pray through this psalm, I encourage you to reflect on these things.

God is everlasting and never changing. Verses 1 and 2 remind us of this truth. Claim this truth over your heart and your circumstances!

We are weak, but he renews us day by day. “Like the new grass of the morning: in the morning it springs up new, but by evening it is dry and withered.” Rest in the truth that he provides for us each new morning. (v. 3-6)

God is all powerful, and all knowing. He numbers our days and he knows each one of them- our shortcomings, our sorrows, our fears. He knows them all, and he is with us through each one. (v. 7-12)

He is good. He satisfies our every need! “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” ALL our days!

I hope that this Psalm brings you the comfort and freedom it does me. Let us remember that though we think we see comfort in the “known,” God is steadfast and everlasting amidst the unknown. He goes before and provides for us each step of the way.

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.”

Brooke Spengler

May 30 – Praying Through the Psalms – Psalm 139

Read Psalm 139:1-24

“If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.”

Psalm 139:8

Have you ever had an experience where you could have been killed? A close call that you survived and are not sure why?

Since I was involved in a serious car accident a few months ago, I have had reminders of that day. And then I am thankful to God. And I believe He is with me all the time, including those 10 seconds that ended in a broken knee, surgery and a totaled car. The fact that I am still here is proof to me that God was with me and He still has a plan for me on this earth. And within 5 seconds after crashing into a cement wall, a woman opened the passenger side door and prayed to Jesus that I would be OK.

Psalm 139 tells me that God is always with me –  no matter where I go, before birth, after birth and after death on earth. He is with me while I’m sleeping and when I’m awake.

On the day of the car accident I was working at Valet parking at Wooster Community Hospital. A man with one leg asked me to park his car and he told me the brakes and the accelerator were switched. I did not think that would be a problem. So I got in his car and, the next thing I know, the car is lunging forward and I am moving. And I didn’t know where the brakes were. The brakes were in a different place on the floor of his car. I could not stop the car!

But this accident has brought many blessings my way. And one of them is that I have had more time to read the Bible while recovering.

Have you ever noticed that many times the writers of the Bible talk about God’s right hand?

“Your right hand, Oh Lord, shattered the enemy.” (Exodus 14:6b)

“Your right hand upholds me.“.  (Psalm 63:8)

“Then he placed his right hand on me” (Revelation 1:17)

“…even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast”. (Psalm 139:10)

One message I have learned from reading Psalm 139 is that God is always with me. In life and in death.

Tom Weckesser

May 29 – Praying Through the Psalms – Psalm 127

Read Psalm 127:1-5

Reading this Psalm made me think of how many things that I have done or tried to do on my own without God’s help.  Webster defines vain as “having no real value, marked by futility or ineffectiveness.” That’s my life without Christ at the center. However, when I put Christ first, reading His word, praying, worshiping with my whole heart, things happen that I could have never imagined.

I remember early in our marriage, we were building a house. About two weeks after the foundation had been laid,  my husband had an accident at work, suffering a broken ankle.  I remember sitting with him in the emergency room as he was questioning what we were going to do. How were we going to continue to build with him unable to work at his job? As we were our own general contractor for the house, how was the work going to be done? Were we going to be able to get the house completed before winter? Many questions loomed larger than life. Yet, in the midst of all this chaos, I remember a calm that was only possible through Christ. I knew that, no matter what happened, it was not a surprise to God.

Many unusual things happened as a result of that situation. Friends and family rallied around to help with the building process. Subcontractors came ahead of schedule because my husband was at home. Because of the time of year, worker’s compensation checks were equal to what his regular salary would have been. We were blessed with an anonymous gift given through the church that paid for floor coverings.  We always knew that it was God’s love and provision for us.

Continuing on in the Psalm, verse 3 states “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.” In the middle of the situation with the broken ankle, we found out that I was pregnant with our second child. Not exactly what our time table was, but it was all in God’s timing. Early on I had some difficulty, resulting in my needing to rest more, rather than working on the house. But that, too, was all in God’s hands as I learned to trust him instead of working it out for myself.

As I look to the future and the upcoming birth of our first grandson, I ask myself the question, “Am I letting the LORD build my house? Or am I doing my own thing with no real value or effectiveness?”

How about you? Do you trust God to “build the house” that he has planned for you?

I pray that it is so.

Linda Joy Geiser