Our growth group is doing something new this year. On our off weeks when we aren’t meeting (because we’re an every-other-week group), we’ve decided to be intentional about studying something together. So myself and a few others are listening for where God wants to take us on those off weeks, then I’m sending out a devotional for all of us to do together. So here is what I wrote to them this week:
I hope you are all doing well today! Since this is our off week, we’ll be doing some devotions. The idea is to take the next week to think and pray over our topic and come to growth group next week ready to share (if you feel comfortable doing so) what the Lord has been showing you.
When I was sharing my story with you all last week, I was reminded of how when I was in that dark desert time there was only one passage of Scripture that I was able to read. God had me camp out in Psalm 27 for a very long time; it gave me hope when I had none. I read it, and prayed it, and recited it back to Him so often. So this week, we’re going to talk about the Psalms in our stories. The Psalms are so full of raw emotions that we often find ourselves looking for comfort, guidance, promises, or praise during different parts of our journeys. Remember, Psalms were songs in ancient times. So just like songs today stir emotions, so the Psalms did then and continue to do so now.
I once read a book called “No Holds Barred, Wrestling With God in Prayer” by Mark D. Roberts. The book was about using the Psalms to pray through seasons, times, and emotions in our lives. For example…
Have you ever been so thirsty for God that your soul felt parched?
Have you ever felt that the weight of the world was baring down on your shoulders?
Have you ever felt like the whole world was against you and God didn’t seem to notice?
Have you ever felt that your heart would burst with joy from the goodness of God?
Just look to the Psalms! Roberts walked through some of the different types of Psalms and encouraged the reader to use them as prayers. And some of those Psalms are bold and risky – and it’s easy to just read them as David’s emotions and move on, never getting in touch with our own emotions, because after all David was the “man after God’s own heart” and well, sometimes we feel the furthest thing from that.
But no matter what is going on, good or bad, no matter how close or far we feel from Him, we can cry out to Him… in fact, He WANTS us to. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Some translations say “with boldness.” And we can do this because we are His children! Roberts writes:
“Neither you nor I will quench our soul’s thirst unless we decide to do one thing, and to do it without hesitation. We must drop our inhibitions when we approach God. He’s even less interested in a boring relationship than we are. So let’s agree right now to plunge into a risky, exciting, expansive relationship with God. He invites us to wade right into his presence, sharing our whole selves with no holds barred.”
So which Psalm has been impactful to you? Is there one you clung to during a hard time in your life, like I did with Psalm 27? Is there one you are clinging to now?
Maybe you don’t have a Psalm for this season of life yet. I have attached a list of the Psalms to this email (see below), and they are categorized by things you may be feeling, facing, or needing. Take some time to read through some of the Psalms this week and see where the Lord takes you. I’m sure he will reveal a Psalm to you that He would like you to pray back to Him and to hold on for encouragement when things are tough. Or He may be calling you to a Psalm of praise. Maybe your heart is full of praise in this season, or maybe you need to bring Him the sacrifice of praise in your storm or desert. Maybe he even wants you to sing your Psalm to Him. For example, Psalm 27 is in song form from Fellowship Church, called Everlasting God: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyMl1zCbprc. Or maybe you need to make up a song to the Lord. Just be open to where He leads you!
The amazing thing about the Psalms is how much depth there is to each of them. The Psalmist may be lamenting and depressed in one verse, but in the next is declaring that God is still good despite those things. There are often promises in the Psalms too. So look for these things when you find your Psalm. What sticks out to you? One of the things that the Lord taught me through Psalm 27 was about resting in Him (vs 5). I encourage you to make some notes about your Psalm. Write down what the Lord says to you so you won’t forget it. And if you’re writing your story, make sure to put your Psalm in it (so you don’t forget to share that part, like I did, haha).
Meditate on your Psalm this week. And ask Him to give you one if you need one. Most of all, ask Him to speak to you through and about your Psalm. He will. And you will be amazed at what you see and hear. I can’t wait to hear about your journeys with the Psalms next week, ladies! I know He will meet each and every one of you in your place of need through this rich collection of songs!
Love you, sister girls!
List of the Psalms: Psalms