link to listen to podcast is below:
Psalm chapter 23
1The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3 He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
Praying back Part 3 – praying for the world around you
What you’ll see next is an example of what I often do in prayer – praying back to God what He’s said to me in His Word. Yet I can’t pray back to God from His Word if I’m not reading His Word…
I’m learning that prayer is another way to plant His Word deep into the soil of my soul for a good harvest of Spirit fruits in my life, and in the lives of whom I pray for – be they friends or family or those whom I’ve never met in places I’ve never been.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.
O God, that You would honor me – that You would stoop down not just to hear my prayer but to affirm me there with head bowed on the ground – that thought is more than I can know but Your word tells me You do exactly that – thank You, God, thank You! Please help to recognize the many blessings You have put in the world around me, be they people or natural resources which I often take for granted. Please help me to overflow with joy into others’ lives that they might come to know You and see the magnificence of beauty in them and around them every day. Please sustain all of us in your strong grace and mercies made new every morning.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life
How wonderful, Lord, that You will keep giving your love and goodness to me along with all of creation for all the days of our lives! Thank You that none of us could earn what You give. Please help me to love others and creation like You do. Please help me to see the good beauty You’ve placed in others and in all of creation as a means of bringing You glory in worship and service. Please give me a desire to pursue You all the days of my life, especially in the valleys where the nights can be very dark and long.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever
Forever is Your domain, Lord – thank You that You take care of me in the now and the not-yet, because I surely can’t. Thank You that You do the same for each and every one of us, be they friends or family or never met. Thank You that You’ve built this earth for Your purpose and all of its inhabitants with a special plan and placement in today and for however many days You have planned for each and every one of us. Please help me to see others as You do – as beloved and to be cherished forever. Please help me to abide, to dwell in Your plan for today and for tomorrow and then straight into forever, one day at a time. Please help me to delight myself in You in this moment, this place, and with this people.
I’m also learning that praying back God’s Word to Him for the world and its inhabitants doesn’t just help me to see the world around me but to see me in the world in His way – as caretaker, not owner. He created and owns it all. He sustains it all, including me, even and especially when I might think the world around or in me is coming apart. Yet, when I’m reminded that I’m a caretaker, He gives the freedom only found in obedience – to do what He commands and let Him take care of the rest of it.
The prayers from those verses are but a very small example of how any one of us can approach praying back God’s Word to Him for the world around us, from the soil to the stars and all of us kept here in the in-between. Praying Scripture back to God will probably look and feel different for each and every one of us because each and every one of us has been placed by God here wherever we are for this time, for this one purpose – glorifying Him and bringing good to His people in worship and service. All of this has been created for displaying His beauty in love and grace in ways far beyond our understanding, but thankfully not beyond our hope or belief that He is Creator, Sustainer, and Protector of all.
All of us have been called to do good in consistently and continually praying for the world God has placed us in, including those people we may never know or the places we may never go. No one or nothing is beyond His reach in His power. We must remember and remain in the truth that nothing can stop God in giving good gifts of conviction (and hopefully, confession and change!) in the act of praying back Scripture to Him for His purposes of glory and good. Only God can and will do the good work that needs to be done in a life or in a place.
I can rest in that truth that my prayer is my opportunity to work with and for Him, no matter if I see the results of those prayers or not…
If you missed Praying back Part 1 and would like to read it, here’s the link:
Or if you missed Praying back Part 2, here’s that link for you:
I’d LOVE for you to join me on this journey to Jesus, please click on the link below to sign up to follow this blog – thank YOU!
And if you’re looking for a Bible study book to encourage you in your quiet times and in your days, here’s a link where you can purchase Good Ground, Volume 1 directly from Northeastern Baptist Press:
Good Ground, Volume 1 is also available from Amazon, Walmart, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, and other book distributors.
Stay tuned for Good Ground, Volume 2 coming Fall 2022, also from Northeastern Baptist Press! (and for something else new also coming soon from Northeastern Baptist Press…)
Written by and copyrighted to Beth Madison, Ph.D., 2022.