What I’m Thinking about This Evening

Green Fields in Allegheny Mountains

“It is true that those in the first flush of faith often are given unusual graces of the Spirit, just  like a new baby is cuddled and pampered. It is also true that some of the deepest experiences of alienation and separation from God have come to those who have traveled far into the interior realms of faith. But we can enter the bleak deserts of barrenness and the dark canyons of anguish at any number of point in our sojourn.”

Since there is no special sequence in the life of prayer, we simply do not move from one stage to the next knowing, for example, that at stages five and twelve we will experience abandonment by God. Of course, it would be much easier if that were the case, but then we would be describing a mechanical arrangement rather than a living relationship.”

—Richard J. Foster
Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, p. 19

I preached on Psalm 51 today at the Chinese Christian Union Church in Chinatown, Chicago. It is always a sobering text. David describes his remorse and his desire for forgiveness in raw language that lays bear his soul and reveals that he has come to grips with the evil and wickedness of his choices. 

He had lusted, committed adultery, murdered, and covered it all up. But God had seen it all. He knows his sin has the character of Pesha–an open rebellion against the will and ways of God. He uses the word Chata–a moral failure to do the righteous thing. And finally, he uses the word Avon–a deliberate choosing to go in the wrong direction. He examines his heart and finds out that he has been this way (a wayward, rebellious, and a moral failure) all his life and so he asks that God might blot out his transgressions and hide His face from all of his sins (vs. 8). He asks God to give him a completely new heart, creating something that was never there before (cf. vs 5 with vs. 10).

I want a heart like David’s. 

I just don’t always like the process it is going to take.

Men and women of God who mean business with God take sin very seriously (Jeremiah 4:1-4). And when they find sin in their heart, they do what David did:

  1. They plead for mercy  (1-2)
  2. They confess their sin (3-6)
  3. They request forgiveness (7-9)
  4. They express a desire for renewed relationship (10-12)
  5. Express a desire to be different (13-15)
    and when they do those things
  6. They gain a new perspective on life (16-17) and a
  7. New vision for life (18-19)

And that means a life of prayerful confession, a life of constant seeking after God, a relentless pursuit of holiness through all the battles of life. Through the battles that are thick with moment and importance and through all the mundane moments, the everyday-ness of life.  

I’ve written about the constancy of the battle in other places, most notably perhaps in a post titled, Why I Hate Prayer

David knew the battle was constant too. That’s why he prayed, “renew in me a steadfast spirit (vs. 10b). 

Let’s wake up every morning called “today” and pray the same prayer.

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