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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, July 21, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 86:11–17

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)

“Give me an undivided heart to revere your name.” While this entire passage is uplifting, this line stays with me the most because it feels like our hearts and minds are always being divided. We live in a world of constant news, work, phone notifications, social media, and interruptions. There is always something screaming for our attention, distracting us and allowing us to forget God’s provision in our lives.

Even while reflecting on this passage I have a million thoughts going through my mind. There are news stories to read, emails to return, chores to complete, Facebook and Twitter to scroll through. With our constant access to the world and people around us, stopping and focusing can feel like a nearly impossible task.

While momentarily tuning out the chaos of the world is never easy, when those moments do happen, it brings a clarity that we so often miss. The peace of an undivided heart is itself a blessing from God, and it allows us to see and acknowledge God’s steadfast love and faithfulness for us. It gives us a moment to breathe in God’s peace and grace and once again move back out into the world and exhale it so that others would see God’s work in us.

Give me an undivided heart, O Lord, that I would praise you with every breath, in word and deed. Thank you for your grace and deliverance. Help me to focus on you in all that I do, that I may do your will on earth and may walk in your truth. Amen.

Written by Jared Light, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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