Friday, August 6, 2010

If not for you ____________________.

The Word for today:
Psalm 94

I'm going to propose a prayer assignment.  The assignment will not be handed in or graded, and there's no definite due date.  It's completely voluntary.  But I hope you take some time and pray this prayer:

If not for you____________________________________________.

If not for you____________________________________________.

If not for you____________________________________________.

The blank parts are where you fill in some particulars.  And please, don't get all pious and prettified when you pray this prayer. 

Here, I'll go first.  Often, sitting in church on a Sunday morning, at precisely 11:45 I'll think this prayer:

If not for you I'd be sitting in Mr. Ed's right now and by 2:00 I'd be drunk.

Enter the unadorned world of my prayers.  They tend not to be real flowery, as you can see.  I used to run on Sunday mornings--every Sunday morning at 11:00.  Then, at about 11:45, I'd go into a bar called Mr. Ed's with my running friends and get drunk.  I've now been going to church every Sunday for 10 years, and it will take me ten more years before the number of Sundays in the church pew equals the number of Sundays on the bar stool. There are other parts of that prayer I'll not delve into right now.  Suffice it to say that God has heard me fill in a longer blank about those Sundays than the one I filled in above.

Now if you want to get more properly prayer-like (in the eyes of man, that is) here's an example of a prayer I've been praying lately.  I pray this prayer because I'm 57 now and I'm looking back at my Dad's life when he was 57.  (I was 17 at the time and just starting to see through things).  Comparing and contrasting my life with his at the very same age, I see the tangible qualitative difference that a moment-by-moment relationship with Jesus Christ has caused.  So here's the prayer I find myself praying:

If not for you I'd be living a life of quiet desperation.


I'm going to quote some Psalm 94 to help get you started, and then I'm going to slip out the back of your monitor so you can begin our prayer assignment concert.

Here's some if-not-for-you's from Psalm 94:

If the LORD had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.

When I thought, "My foot slips," your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up.

When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul. (v. 17-19)

Now it's your turn.  Go ahead, tell him the difference he's made.  And when you do, don't pretty up your past too much.  God might start to wonder just who it is that he's hearing from.

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