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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 116:1–9

I love the Lord, because he has heard
   my voice and my supplications.
Because he inclined his ear to me,
   therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
The snares of death encompassed me;
   the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
   I suffered distress and anguish.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
   “O Lord, I pray, save my life!”

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
   our God is merciful.
The Lord protects the simple;
   when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return, O my soul, to your rest,
   for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

For you have delivered my soul from death,
   my eyes from tears,
   my feet from stumbling.
I walk before the Lord
   in the land of the living. (NRSV)

Reflection
Thanking the Lord—well, that’s not difficult at all. As the psalmist says, “I love the Lord because he heard me; I will call on him forever because he answered me. I was in distress and sorrow, I was low, crying and stumbling, and he saved me. All my prayers were answered exactly the way I wanted them, and I am so thankful.”

But what about those prayers that haven’t been answered the way you want them to be? What about the times God doesn’t seem to be listening? Do we think that God only cares if God answers with a yes? Do we grow frustrated with God because we have an idea and a timeline for how our prayers should be answered? Can we be thankful for “unanswered” prayers?

Humility and trusting God go together. When our prayers seem to go unanswered we must trust that God knows what God is doing and acknowledge that we are not in control. Do you remember Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane? “Let this cup pass from me.” How different our lives would be if God had answered that prayer! Thank God that Jesus ended his prayer by adding, “Yet not as I will but as you will.”

Prayer
Lord, thank you for the times you have said no as it brings us back to you in prayer. Thank you for “unanswered” prayers as you remind us that you know what is best even if we may have a different opinion. Give us the strength and wisdom to remember to pray, “Your will be done.” Amen.

Written by Linda Gibboney, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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