Daily D – Psalm 47:1
Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. (NIV)
Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise! (NLT)
How do you respond when God says, “Yes!” to your prayer requests? This verse provides wise counsel. The New Living Translation adds the enthusiastic application of exclamation marks the New International Version omits. Clapping and shouting with joyful praise does not occur through mumbled hallelujahs with hands stuffed in pockets.
Do you pray listlessly? Are your prayers decidedly unaccompanied by the occasional exclamation mark?
For many years, I cultivated a carefully curated daily prayer list. It began with seven levels of relationships. These lists started with my personal walk with God and extended to immediate family, relatives, close friends, neighbors and coworkers, acquaintances, and people I meet from day to day or encounter along the way.
I included ample doses of character traits I wanted God to build into my life, things like a closer walk with him and the fruit of the Spirit. I added those things marking a maturing follower of Jesus. There were those qualities I wanted and needed more of along with those I wanted and needed less of. You get the picture.
Using these daily lists over years and decades cemented them in my mind. This has been wonderfully helpful along the way. A few years ago, I began praying listlessly. This does not mean these prayers lacked energy or intensity of effort. It’s not that kind of listlessness. What I mean is I stopped consulting my lists each day. Two reasons led me to this.
First, these lists were deeply ingrained as mentioned earlier. Second, I wanted to focus more on what was going on in each particular day. This involved laying the calendar with its events and tasks open before God and seeking his highest and best in everything planned there. It also involved acknowledging how none of my days as planned finished exactly as scripted or expected. I wanted to know and experience God in the improvisation, the adaptation, and the overcoming of unexpected moments and encounters.
This has been transformational. Prayer has downshifted from lists of what I want from God and accelerated into what God wants from me and for me and for others. This makes me much more in tune with situational awareness. Prayer has become more like breathing out and breathing in.
This has caused a bit of a challenge. While my inner prayer life has grown richer and fuller and more meaningful, my public prayers have begun to feel less comfortable. It would likely make everyone within hearing a bit more uncomfortable if they heard my deeply personal, ultimately private prayers.
Please, do not hear anything resembling saintliness or mystical otherworldliness in the last sentence in the paragraph above. We all know what it is like to have one or two people in our lives we can tell anything. It is those people we invite to ponder great mysteries with us. We talk to those individuals like we do not talk to anyone else.
- Curate and craft a helpful daily prayer list.
- Cultivate situational awareness leading to immersive prayer.
- Celebrate every Yes from God with expressions appropriate to the moment and the place.
I will practice the disciplines of prayer with depth, intensity, and joy.
Our Father, teach me to pray. Draw me closer. Lead me higher. Take me deeper. Make me ever-more aware of your presence and your preferences for where I am and who is around me. Amen.
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Acts 10:34, 35 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.”
Acts 5:38, 39 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”