Another Lord’s day has come and gone. It was not without considerable effort that I worshipped. I felt impressed with the need to not squander the opportunity with mere lip service. It was hard to come in from the low places we routinely walk and rise to the heights of worship which adequately reflect the benefits we have in Christ.
I could have let the rhythms of the music move me in the same way other genres cause me to pat my feet. I’ve done it before, but that would have little to do with the Lord. No, that would not do. My struggle revealed two things of which I am in need.
The first is time. Time to reflect more regularly on the benefits we have in Christ so that the gospel would have a greater influence on me as I walk in the low places of life. In response to this need, I found this wonderful prayer that I began to whisper to the Lord from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers. “Glorious Trinity, impress the gospel on my soul, until its virtue diffuses every faculty.” The prayer is just what I needed. Not an application to be practiced by me, but the need for the truth of the grace of God to be applied to me.
The second is effectual prayer. As Eugene Peterson said in his great book, Under the Unpredictable Plant, We need a prayer that is “adequate for the complexity of our lives.” A prayer for a life lived routinely in low places.
I realize that the Spirit of God intercedes for me when I do not know what to pray for, but my own silence leaves me feeling emotionally disconnected. I need to talk to Him, but the words fail me. I do not need a spiritual discipline to practice. I need communion with my Father.
The first need I have a measure of control over. I can make time for reflection. And I intend to. The second need will have to be cultivated and there must be growth. I have begun in the place where Israel found the language of prayer; the Psalms. In it, I look for ways to express my frustration, doubt, fear, anger, the desire for vengeance, dismay, exhaustion, and other things that I need to talk to God about. I hide it in my heart so that when I need it, the words will not fail me. I hide it in my heart so that my prayer will be effectual; adequate for the low places of life.