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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Today’s Reading | Psalm 86

Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me,
   for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am devoted to you;
   save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; be gracious to me, O Lord,
   for to you do I cry all day long.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
   for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
   abounding in steadfast love to all who call on you.
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
   listen to my cry of supplication.
In the day of my trouble I call on you,
   for you will answer me.

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
   nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come
   and bow down before you, O Lord,
   and shall glorify your name.
For you are great and do wondrous things;
   you alone are God.
Teach me your way, O Lord,
   that I may walk in your truth;
   give me an undivided heart to revere your name.
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
   and I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your steadfast love toward me;
   you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

O God, the insolent rise up against me;
   a band of ruffians seeks my life,
   and they do not set you before them.
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
   slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Turn to me and be gracious to me;
   give your strength to your servant;
   save the child of your serving girl.
Show me a sign of your favor,
   so that those who hate me may see it and be put to shame,
   because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me. (NRSV)

We’ve all said it before: “When it rains, it pours.” It might start with something small, like a bad day at work or a fight with a friend. Then you’re greeted with unexpected bills. An illness in the family. Death of a close friend. With every new challenge, we tell ourselves, “I can handle this; I’ve handled worse before.”

We consider ourselves capable and strong if we can survive all the challenges we encounter. And sometimes we make it through these metaphorical storms. We desperately want to take care of things on our own and hate to appear weak or ask anyone for help.

But in the most difficult moments, we finally turn to God in prayer. We get to a breaking point where we can no longer face the challenges on our own, and we admit not only our weakness to God but our longing to humble our hearts and be comforted by God’s grace.

In David’s psalm we’re reminded to praise God for the infinite love and protection we so desperately seek. There is nothing wrong with admitting our limitations. Instead, we are only praising God for providing us the strength we cannot muster on our own accord.

Mahatma Gandhi reminds us, “Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”

When we reach the end our human strength, we can instantly turn to God for unlimited love, protection, and comfort. More importantly, we must humble ourselves to know God will always answer our requests for strength.

God of infinite strength, guide me to praise and follow you when I fall. Let me find peace in my inadequacies, and comfort in your grace. Amen.

Written by Jackie Lorens, Director, Chicago Lights Elam Davies Social Service Center

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