Friday, July 25, 2014

Penciled Prayers: Till the Storms of Destruction Pass By

"Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by (Psalm 57:1).

O Lord, thank You for my daily time with Mahria in Your Word and in prayer. As we read Your psalms yesterday, Mahria was particularly touched and encouraged by Psalm 57:1. Once we finished our reading, as You know, we went back and read the verse a few more times, encouraging each other and being encouraged by You and Your Word. Thank You, Lord, for loving us so much and enabling us to love You and to love each other.

You are so very merciful to me, Father. Your mercy--not giving me what I deserve for my sins against You--is great and as unmerited as Your love and grace. Father, my sin is great, but Your grace and mercy is greater. The efficacy of Your Son's vicarious, penal, substitutionary, and definite atonement is greater, far greater than my sin and the debt I owe You for my sin, which was nailed to the cross. I cannot thank You enough, Father, for the mercy You showed me when You saved me and the mercy You have shown me every moment since that moment in time.

My soul takes refuge in You, in the shadow of Your wings, like the goslings under their mothers' wings along the lake's shore, or like the family in sudden fear takes shelter in the storm cellar, hearing the roar of a tornado in the distance. Lord, I can remember so many times as a boy taking refuge in my earthly father's presence. Safety, security, unconditional love. As I pray this prayer, I find myself missing my dad. Gone now 15 years, I do hope he is in Your presence.

So many storms of life have come and gone, Father. A few tempests swirl, today, but I know You are with me. For I can always seek and always find shelter in the shadow of Your wings. O God, how great is Your mercy!

Father, the shadow of Your wings includes Your sovereignty. You allow and/or cause every storm--even every destructive storm--in my life. Yet on the cusp of every storm, before the billowing clouds along the front edge of the storm grow dark and seem to hide the Sun, Your mercy is already there. The shadow of Your sovereign wings provides shelter before the shadow of the storm brings darkness.

Sometimes storms take time to come, giving opportunity for anxiety to darken otherwise clear days. Sometimes storms hit without warning, bringing with them sudden fear. Regardless of the nature of the storm; regardless of the manner in which or the severity with which it strikes, Your mercy is already present, perfectly placed, perfectly secure, perfectly sufficient to protect me until the destructive storm passes by. My soul takes refuge in You, Lord, in the shadow of Your wings.

Father, I know there are times when I seed life's otherwise white clouds with my sin. I know some of the storms of my life come about as a result of my sin. Not every tempest rages because of Satan's tempting. More often than not, any artificial seeding of the clouds of life are my own doing. And You allow it. You allow it in order to bring Yourself glory through disciplining me and through my sanctification. Yet even in these self-induced stormy times in my life, I can repent and take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. I can turn from the storm, even the storm I bring about, turn to you, and be safe. O Merciful God, thank You for Your loving and tender mercy.

Father, please show mercy to the street preacher with whom I engaged in written correspondence, yesterday. Father, as You know, he preaches doctrines of demons and has deceived himself into thinking his self-righteousness is righteousness. O Lord, please have mercy on him and save him. Do not allow his heart to remain hard. Take his Pharaoh-like heart and give him a heart like You gave Philip the Evangelist.

Father, please continue to show mercy to Israel, especially during this time of dangerous military engagement. Israel, who murdered Your prophets and crucified her Messiah, remains in wanton rebellion against You. For thousands of years, You have shown great mercy to Your nation--in spite of their demand for a king to rule them, to murdering Your prophets, to rejecting their Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. Every day of existence for Israel, like every day of existence for every unbeliever, is a testimony of Your amazing mercy. Preserve Israel, O God. Preserve her, and may she be reconciled to her King.

I love You, Lord Jesus; I thank You for Your mercy in my life and for giving me the confident, peace-generating, hope in the reality that Your mercies are new every morning. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

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