matterofprayer blog post for Sunday, September 14, 2014
Grace and Mercy? In Prayer!
One of my favorite psalms of all time is Psalm 103. One of my favorite verses of all time (well, at least for right now) comes from that psalm, verse 12: “as far as the east is from the west, so far has [God] removed our transgressions from us.”
This verse is precious to me. Precious beyond all measure. I hold it close to me, on occasion, when I feel lost. Alone. And especially, sinful. Dirty. Defective. Worthless. But how do I turn my negative thoughts around? How can I start thinking in a positive direction? A direction that is worthwhile, upbuilding, and pleasing to God?
If I think of verses from this psalm, I will naturally be oriented towards positive, loving thoughts. For example: God loves me. God has compassion towards me. God shows me grace and mercy. I can kick those negative, mean, depressing and hateful thoughts right out of my head.
Sometimes, those negative thoughts can come from outside. From thoughtless or mean comments that some people make, or from sad or mad situations that occur in each of our lives. Yes. And sometimes, similar negative thoughts start from inside of us. Negative self-talk is so self-defeating. (“I’m no good,” “what use am I?” or “that was a stupid remark/action.”)
Knowing that I am loved, that I am regularly shown compassion, that God extends grace and mercy toward me? All of these things are priceless! Priceless, like me! And—know that God extends all of these things towards you, too.
It’s so hard to be loving and caring towards other people when I don’t feel good about myself, when I feel that somehow I am faulty and defective. I suspect you have found that to be true, too. But when I feel that God loves me, cares about me, has compassion towards me—even forgives my sins and transgressions, I feel so wonderful! It is then that prayer comes naturally to me! Prayer of gratitude to God, prayer of thanksgiving for what I receive, prayer of intercession for others. Thank You, God.
Let’s pray. Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for loving me. Thank You for extending Your grace and mercy towards all of us who love you. Thank You for not treating us as our sins deserve. Lord—who, then, could stand? But with You is abundant forgiveness. Thank You, God! Thank You for Your compassionate, caring presence, now and always, amen.
(also published at www.matterofprayer.net