Daily D – Psalm 40:1, 11, 13,17
Psalm 40:1 “I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.” (NLT)
Psalm 40:11 “Lord, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me. Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me.” (NLT)
Psalm 40:13 “Please, Lord, rescue me! Come quickly, Lord, and help me.” (NLT)
**Psalm 40:17** “As for me, since I am poor and needy, let the Lord keep me in his thoughts. You are my helper and my savior. O my God, do not delay.” (NLT)
Some sayings slip into our cultural conversation and serve as shortcuts for bigger ideas. “Thoughts and prayers” is one such phrase. Where did this expression come from?
Often, phrases like this can be traced to an individual who gave voice to the idea. Just as often, there is no tracing of the source.
These words have become an automatic filler for politicians and media personnel. The next time someone talks about the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, or a school shooting, or some other tragedy, you will hear this phrase. You will also hear someone attempting to score political points by shouting down those who encourage people to keep those affected in their “thoughts and prayers.”
Who are you keeping your “thoughts and prayers” right now? Is there someone you promised you would pray for but kinda sorta forgot? This is a good moment to re-engage your prayer promise. Since I awoke at my normal Texas Time on the West Coast this morning, which means it was two hours behind Texas Time, I had an opportunity to catch up on my “thoughts and prayers.”
King David teaches us about “thoughts and prayers.” Take a few minutes to read Psalm 40 in its entirety. Read it aloud thoughtfully. Notice how he talks to God. A few insightful verses are collected above. Pay special attention to verse 17. I’m guessing this is the origin of “thoughts and prayers.”
“As for me, since I am poor and needy, let the Lord keep me in his thoughts. You are my helper and my savior. O my God, do not delay.”
David asks God to keep him in his thoughts. He is asking God not to forget about him. David’s prayer is passionate and specific. It is focused and straightforward. This prayer is a thought worth thinking and a model worth repeating.
“Thoughts and prayers” are a form of communion. God thinks his best thoughts which leads to his best actions on our behalf. We seek to align and attune our hearts, minds, and lifestyles with his for our greater good and our influence on others. The phrase “thoughts and prayers” takes on fresh meaning in this light, doesn’t it?
I will pray with passionate focus like King David.
Our Father, as King David prayed, don’t forget about me. As he also prayed, empower me to fully align and attune my heart, mind, and lifestyle with yours. Draw me ever closer into this sweet communion. Amen.
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Psalm 139:17, 18 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!
2 Corinthians 5:1-5 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.