The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. (Psalms 28:7)
Because Your love is better than my life, my lips will glorify You. I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your name I will lift up my hands. (Psalms 63:3-4)
I find that the Psalms hold a great deal of wisdom. I have combined these two truths, analyzing the meaning of key words and phrases to form one that serves as a very personal wake-up call for me:
The LORD is the source of my emotional support and my buffer; I trust Him, and I am comforted, and protected. Through His unconditional love and willing intervention I find relief — and I seek to express my gratitude in prayers of thanksgiving , singing his praises, and in encouraging others to do so as well.
One of the things that I tend to have difficulty with is being consistent in expressing my gratitude when I am blessed. I do recognize when my prayers have been answered, and I revel in the feeling of peace and well-being. Then, as quickly as that recognition and euphoria occurs, my focus can shift back to all of the other petitions I have that are as yet unresolved.
When this happens, I am glad that in moments of self-reflection, I am struck by the realization (or perhaps by the hand of the Holy Spirit) that prayer is not merely a transactional exercise — wherein I ask, He gives; but rather it must be part of an ongoing process of building a deep and trusting relationship with God — one where, based on his capacity for love and in light of the desired fulfillment of his promises, I can feel confident that I am moving along the path he intends.
To me, as I seek to build the type of relationship that I desire with Him — while I can feel free to express all of my needs and emotions, I have to remember that my trials and circumstance are intended often to teach me something valuable. I have to be open to accept His help and His grace in dealing with my situation with the understanding that his plan unfolds only as I am able to understand and implement it. When I am blessed, I have to recognize it as a result of His Hand, and give thanks. Then, I have to focus my prayers on building the fortitude to continue to endure any trial or framing the appropriate plea for resolution of any outstanding issues until such time as I have developed the requisite mindset and behavior to accept the intervention and/or carry out the next steps.
The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace. (Psalms 29:11)
This verse serves as a reinforcement of the truth highlighted from Psalms 28, and also reminds me that this is where my sense of peace is coming from when I am blessed. This is all the more reason to follow through on meeting my goal — working to develop a habit of mind that allows me to balance giving praise when it is due with making additional pleas for understanding, fortitude, and relief.
Lord, in giving me strength, you bring me peace; in answering my pleas, you show me your infinite mercy and love. Through Your intervention I always attain comfort, relief, and protection, and often receive grace in the form of bolstered fortitude and ability to endure. Let me remember that Your plan unfolds as I am able to understand the lessons inherent in the trials and adversity that I face, and as am capable of applying what I learn as You intend. Let me never forget that Your priceless love deserves my song of praise and thanksgiving. Please help me to always balance my pleas with my praise. In Jesus’ name, I pray, AMEN.