Read: Psalms 5 |
Thomas Chisholm wrote the poem that became the well-known hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” in 1925. Surely, the words to the poem were birthed in the cauldron of his life’s triumphs and failures and tempered by the Holy Spirit.
I imagine that as he wrote, he reflected upon his birth in a humble log cabin, his lack of a formal education, his drive that led him to become a teacher at the age of 16, the associate editor of his hometown weekly newspaper, the Franklin Advocate at 21. But God, … but God was just getting started because at the age of 27, he became a Christian, at 36 he entered the ministry as a Pastor. However, poor health caused him to retire and move to New Jersey. In New Jersey, he worked as an Insurance agent and wrote nearly 1,200 poems (800 of which were published).
At 59, he was able to put it into rhyme and verse his enlightened perspective into the poem that became a beloved hymn. The words to this hymn stand out because it is a reflection how each of us can look back and look forward to what God has done and will do morning after morning. Once we do that, we will see that all that we have needed – God has provided!
Psalm 5, written by David, contrasts the Believer who is under God’s grace and the wicked who oppose those who believe. The prayer can be divided into five sections.
After the salutation in the first 3 verses, David contrasts the wicked and righteous. The next set of verses alternates between seeking protection from the wicked and justice for the wicked – verses 4-6; 9-10. He follows each set about the wicked with a petition that God lead him to righteousness and shield him from the wicked (verses 7-8; 11-12).
Main Message – Prayer of Protection and Peace
Offense wins games, Defense wins championships is an oft repeated sports truism.
For a Christian, our best defense is prayer.
Multiple verses remind us of the defensive value of prayer. In 2 Chronicles 7:14, we are reminded to humble ourselves and pray! God will hear us; Eph. 6:10-18, instructs us to put on the full armor of God and to pray in the Spirit; James 5:16b informs us that the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
While there is no time like the present to pray, David illustrates the importance of beginning the day with God. Jesus also demonstrated the importance of praying early in the morning [Mark 1:35].
A morning prayer allows us to pause (Selah) and reflect as we put on the armor of God. In fact, our shield of Faith does us no good if we do not pick it up and take it with us morning-by-morning. By praying first, we show God the priority He has in our lives. It also put us into an “on guard” stance against the wiles of the Devil. Additionally, as we confess our sins and seek His help, the open channel allows a two-way communication with the Holy Spirit. He will help us remember God’s past victories in our lives as we face the present challenges.
While we should start the day with prayer, it does not mean that this should be our only time to pray. The Bible teaches us that frequent and fervent prayer demonstrates our faith and faithfulness to God [ I Thess. 5:17]. In fact, let me illustrate. If you are a cell phone user or know someone who is… how many text messages do you imagine are sent each day? Research by the magazine “BusinessInsider”, shows that for the age group of 18-24 over 128 text messages are sent per day!
Wow! What would the world be like if Christians not only began their day with a prayer conversation, but kept it going with text message-sized prayers/meditations for 100+ times a day! To quote, Charles Spurgeon, “We should be careful to keep the stream of meditation always running; for this is the water to drive the mill of prayer.”
For Believers, while our best defense is prayer, our best offense is actively pursuing God’s will. For with God, we are always victorious!
Morning by morning, with trust in God’s faithfulness Psalm 5 reminds us to seek God’s hedge of protection around us as we do His will. As we follow Him, our lives will be a testimony to how “Great is thy Faithfulness”!
“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me! “
1. Discover –
A. Do you start your day with prayer? If not, try to start the habit.
2. Develop –
A. While the average number of text messages per day of 128 for young people exceeds my prayers per day, it is a challenge to me to use text messages sent/received as a prayer trigger. Now, when I send/receive a text message, it will trigger me to say a quick prayer. Will you try the experiment with me?
B. To extend my prayer time, while I commute to work I pray for my family and others during the drive. To keep me focused, I pray for myself for the first few mile markers, then my wife, etc. In fact, every time I pass my designated mile marker when I’m not commuting, I’m reminded of what I prayer for. Try it, it might work for you. Also, I’ve found that praying out loud is the most effective way to stay tuned in.
3. Demonstrate –
A. When friends or family who are believers face a crisis, whom do they turn to for prayer? If you are not one of the people they turn to, what does that say about our walk and prayer life? Does it make you want to self-examine and make changes?