The following is a prayer in response to reading chapter in David Powlison's book,Seeing with New Eyes.
A little background may be necessary. For the past several months, I have been finding my quiet times with the Lord difficult. I have compared them to the past several years, and to be honest, I find the present ones just don't measure up to the breadth of discovery and intimacy I once feel I experienced when I encountered the Lord in His Word. But the Lord is making all things new, always teaching us, always stripping us of ourselves and our pride.
Praying the Lord uses this glimpse into my heart to lead you to peace learned in relationship with Jesus.
My heart is not proud, O LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, put your hope in the LORD
both now and forevermore.
My heart is overwhelmed at the way you have impacted it with this chapter. At first glance, Psalm 131 seems to describe a prideful person who has accomplished a peaceful state of mind and has achieved contentment, a person by whom I am immediately turned off and of whom I am still jealous at the same time. But at a deeper perusal of the Psalm, my own proud self-will is brought to the light. The anti-psalm highlights my proud heart, my haughty eyes – looking down on the psalmist, and my selfish desire to chase after things too great and too difficult for me. Help, Spirit. These things produce anxiety, selfishness, despair, restlessness, and more pride. I repent of my desire to do things on my own. I repent of my constant struggle with trusting You. Even when I am faithless, You are faithful. I repent of my desire and actions to attempt to control my life. I repent of perfectionism for the sake of others’ approval. I am Yours. Forgive me. Restore me. Remind me that my heart’s deepest desires are only met and satisfied in You.
Wean me from these fleshly desires. Quiet my soul. I know this process is controlled by You. You know how I am tempted – to purify my heart by acting as if the law can be achieved. Punish myself, be disappointed in myself, assert my pride as the capable champion of this process. Protect me from myself. Show me Jesus. Satisfy my heart with Your love for me. Wreck me with Your promises that will transform my heart. Teach me to live by faith. Spirit, lead me away from independence and unbelief and lead me in the way everlasting, a lifestyle of conviction, repentance, and obedience by faith.
“From God’s side, we escape ourselves by being loved by Jesus Christ through the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit. From our side, we escape ourselves by learning a lifestyle of intelligent repentance, genuine faith, and specific obedience.” (Powlison 81-2). Help me believe that it is really this simple.
Praise Your Name for using the portrayal of a child not yet weaned from his mother vs. the same child after he is successfully weaned to provoke sincere emotion in me. The first - fretting for immediate satisfaction from his mother's milk, squirming anxiously, letting emotions take over. The second - changed, sitting still, quiet and at peace. Oh that my soul would be as a small child sitting on my lap! One content with all her needs met, resting in the Presence of the One who has rescued her because He delighted in her. One who has no fear of man because only the fear of the Lord leads to life. One who has no fear of failure because He has already won. One who knows the fullness of love and joy because He helps her to abide in His life-giving, life-sacrificing, life-producing Presence. One who finds rest because her hope is in You.
Abba, forgive me for chasing after the achievement of an idealized devotional life. We have talked many times about this issue. I worry because our time together is not as it used to be, full of revelation from Your side and delight and wonder from mine. You never change, so it must be me, I conclude. Praise Your Name for using this chapter to show me I have been chasing after impossibilities, matters too great and too wonderful – perfection. You have simply called me to relationship. Forgive me for asserting my idealized perfection onto our relationship. Free me from my desire for routine in our time together. This directly fights against your call to dependence. Humble me continually that I might worship and be set free from my own analysis and standards of good.
“But I have stilled and quieted my soul” (v. 2). Thank you for your sweet revelation that this is only learned in relationship with Jesus. This is not “unruffled detachment or stoic indifference. It’s not about having an easygoing personality or low expectations. It’s not retreat from the troubles of life or retirement to a life of ease. It’s not the quieting of inner noise that a glass of wine produces… Psalm 131’s inner quiet comes in the midst of actions, relationships, and problems.” (Powlison 77) This quietness of soul is chosen. It is only by Your grace, Abba, that I will come to this place. Thank You for giving me Yourself and for relentlessly pursuing me until my heart sings,
“Be at rest, once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” Psalm 116:7