Why Pray?

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This Sunday, Pastor Anna preached on the topic of prayer. Her main Scripture passage was Psalm 139, which we will use for this week’s meditation. I’ve put Psalm 139 at the bottom of this note for your use in prayer.

The psalmist describes their relationship with God in great detail, from both their own point of view and God’s point of view. I suggest that you read this psalm slowly once all the way through. As usual, you might invite God to join you as you pray. Pay attention to each line, what it means and how it makes you feel. Can you relate to the psalmist and their situation? Do you believe that God is that aware of you and your activities? Does God seem close to you, or far away? Share your feelings with God. After you have read the psalm through once, sit with your strongest feelings for a few minutes. Imagine God is in the room with you. How does this make you feel?

Read the psalm through a second time. This time, continue imagining that God is in the room with you. Address each phrase directly to God. Can you sense how God might be reacting to your prayer? If you find it easy to believe that everything the psalmists says is true, you might ask God what this means for your life. If you find it difficult to believe, you might ask God if it is true, how you might come to believe that it is true.

Read the psalm through one more time. This time, reflect on how you feel most of the time as you go through your day as you read the psalm. Could your life be different if you could trust God to be present in your life the way the psalmist describes? How would it feel to live life this way? Does it feel exciting or scary? Share your feelings with God. Jot down any senses that you have of His response.

Psalm 139

You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Feel free to share your experience with others who have also tried this prayer exercise by commenting below or emailing: spiritual.practices@annarborvineyard.org.

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