Psalm 139, A Prayer

My colleague, Josh Moody, offered this thought provoking prayer from Psalm 139 on Sunday night:

“O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.”

Lord, we constantly feel that we are invisible to you. We feel that you do not notice what we do. We work hard. We try hard. Do you see? Do you know?

When we go through hard times we feel it means little to you. When we are surrounded by darkness we feel we are hid from you. We think that our thoughts are unknown to you, and our actions of little consequence to you, and our circumstances beyond your care.

How different is the reality. Your word teaches us that you know everything. You are eager like a lover inspecting and watching over us. There is nothing hid from your compassionate gaze. Even our thoughts are an open book to you.

There is nowhere we can travel. No way we can hide. No clever formulation of words that can put you off the track. You know everything there is to know about us. You know us far better than we know ourselves.

That would be a terrifying thought, if we did not know with what eyes of love you look at us, if we did not know the truth of the gospel that Christ has blotted out all our misdeeds, wrongful desires, and hidden grievances. You look on us with love. And even the darkness cannot prevent the light of your love shining on us.

Help us this New Year to live in the light of that truth. To live as if our ways are known by you, and not only known but sovereignly ordained; that you hem us in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon us. We cannot flee from your path, we cannot leave your sovereign plan. We can sin, and we do. We can make mistakes and we do. And yet – somehow, amazingly – all is under your watchful gaze, and under the sovereign control of your hand upon our lives.

Help us to live with the confidence that comes from that realization. To not live as an atheist does, as if our lives are mere flotsam and jetsam on the undulating waves of fate. To not live as the legalist does, as if our lives were forever waiting for some divine bludgeon to catch us out for not being perfect. But to live as the Christian – full of faith, full of the fear of God but not of man, with joy, hope, and life, and light.

This New Year make us aware that even the darkness is not dark to you.

In Christ’s name. Amen.

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