praying the Psalms: Psalm 19
Years ago we sat on the beach with a bunch of college students and we considered that the ocean is actually telling of the glory of God and the way the palm trees sway is a kind of praise and we thought Man, one day we will know exactly what they are saying about the Creator and we’ll rejoice to speak the language of God’s glory in a new and perfect way!
Because the whole earth is daily pouring forth its gratitude and the heavens are bursting with the joy that belongs only to something designed by the Holy Other. There is a sacred wind in the trees and the mountains are a majestic sacrament and wide open prairies and frozen rivers are devoted to the celebration of their Maker – these created things sing a wild worship way better than we do, with all our aching and groaning. To be sure, creation is groaning too - but for the complete redemption of all things created. Nature cries out and waits with anticipation as the sun rises and glides across the sky and camps out in a heavenly tent at the end of its circuit.
And we, the holy and beloved dust He breathed life into – we halfheartedly whisper a prayer when we rise and gripe through our days, clinging to every vestige of our own strength we can summon. We wonder at the natural world and we despise it for doing the very thing we wrestle through our soulish responses to do: praise unceasingly.
God’s law is absolutely perfect. His laws at work in the natural world and at work in our spirit and soul. His testimony tells a true and perfect story that makes what is simple become wise. We consider that His precepts and commandments are without any flaw or failing, bringing an otherworldly purity and opening our eyes to His ways. We walk with Him, rejoicing in the God who is the only Righteous Judge and from the deepest place, we prefer everything of God to anything of ourselves.
But those days when we think that we can find a sweeter honey than the Lord’s enduring love for us?
Keeps us from presumptuous sins, o God!
Don’t let us be ruled by arrogance or deceit, don’t let us live in the shallows, afraid to draw from Your gracious Spirit dwelling inside. Protect us when we abandon the road of ceaseless praise and choose to be ruled by presumption. By such grace we are acquitted of any transgression, because Your Son paid the price. So, oh, let us not dwell there.
May every word coming out of the mouth of Your child be pleasing to You. May every thought that flits through my mind submit itself to the glory of Christ. May my heart dwell perpetually on Your life at work, Your sufficiency in my weakness.
The trees and oceans and rocks cry out “Glory! Glory to God!” May my own cries be pleasing to You, my Rock and my Redeemer.