Have you ever watched as someone struggled their way through difficulty, and longed to have the right words for them?
Have you ever wanted to pray blessings for a brother or sister in the Lord and the words just seem so… lame?
As I considered that Psalm this morning I thought of several people enduring difficulties and thought “this is what I would ask for them!’ Consider the following (taken from the NIV translation): Verse 1:
May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; May the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
To read the Psalm in full, click here.
There are many times in which I quote the Word of God in prayer. Often it is in reference to a promise.
For example: when I am anxious, I turn earnestly to God in prayer (often several times a day or week!) and I will say “Lord, please help me to remember that you are the Lord and nothing is to difficult for you. You have provided for me in so many ways, and I am so thankful. Help me not be anxious. You promise in your word that if we let our requests be made known to you that Your peace, the ‘Peace that surpasses all understanding’ will ‘guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.’ Grant me peace, dear Lord, and when I begin to feel afraid, remind me to trust in You.”
I don’t think it ever comes out that beautifully, but that is in essence my thought pattern. He promises peace if we offer up our requests through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving (don’t forget that part!). The full passage is Philippians 4.6-7. I quote it often here on the blog, because it is a constant meditation of mine and has tremendously reduced my anxiety level.
Going back to the above Psalm, I would encourage you to write it on a piece of paper and where it says “you” and “your” insert the name of the person going through struggles or a person on whom you desire the Lord to bless.
May the Lord answer [Nathanael] when [he is] in distress; May the name of the God of Jacob protect [him].
May He send [Nathanael] help from the sanctuary and grant [him] support from Zion.
Obviously, you’ll have to use he/she or him/her from time to time, but the idea is that you are praying this prayer for a particular person.
Someone may take issue with this, but let me make one thing abundantly clear: I have no desire to change the actual word of the Lord. The desire is to pray the words of the Psalm and to do so, some pronouns have to be changed in your prayer. Just like in the above example using Philippians 4.16. I didn’t quote the entirety of the verse, but I relayed the essence of it to God.
Approach it with humility in this fashion:
“Lord, you know the struggles of [insert name]. I want to pray the blessings that your servant David wrote in Your Word on [insert name]. And then read what you have written as you pray. You aren’t trying to change the Word of God. You don’t want this published nor do you want people to think that Psalm was written only for that person. You are praying the Word of God.
After you have prayed for that individual, send them some encouragement. You can type an email, or send them a card, but send them the full text of the Psalm (not your prayer version, but the one from the Bible with the “you” and “yours”) and tell them “This is my prayer for you this week.”
Do you ever pray the words of the Bible in your prayers? Is there a specific passage?