Prayer, Plain and Simple

But not all is well… Psalm 139:19-22. A stark intrusion enters the frame. Lovely thoughts of God’s loving awareness are shattered by an equally real but bitter awareness that evil exists. Not all in God’s world is as God intended. There is crookedness afoot. I am aware of this too. I side with God, even when that crookedness is in me!

Psalm 139:19-22 – there is a place for hatred in the heart of God…

 19 O God, if only you would destroy the wicked!
      Get out of my life, you murderers!
 20 They blaspheme you;
      your enemies misuse your name.
 21 O Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you?
      Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you?
 22 Yes, I hate them with total hatred,
      for your enemies are my enemies.

“God you are equally aware that not all creation is as you intend. You have created all, and know all, but some aspects, some souls you create and love have closed the door on his presence. Some are wicked. God, you must oppose the wicked, and their wickedness. You do take sides against those who live against you. And I too, side with you. I am loyal to my God against my own if need be. There are some, like me in fact, who stand against God. I stand against them and with God… This is no justification of the wickedness in me, for I must stand against that as well. But I plead with you, God to fight against all who opposed to you and your ways. Fight. I join you here, even when that means I must see destroyed the evil harbored in my own heart!”


Psalm 139:17-18 relays the most shocking and surprising of all truth… God is fascinated by me!

 17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
      They cannot be numbered!
 18 I can’t even count them;
      they outnumber the grains of sand!
   And when I wake up,
      you are still with me!

“God, You are actively aware of everything. You are conscious of every atom moving and shifting, of the photosynthesis in every cell of every life on every oak tree in every field on earth. And you know and monitors and watch and permit gravity’s pull in all the stars in every galaxy, but also and at the same time in every single cell creature swimming and kicking about in every drop of water that makes up the Silver Lake just down the hill from where I am pondering this point and trying as I can to be aware of things as you, God are aware. I am like you in this, created in your image, but only in a tiny way. I’m stuck on just these single facts of being in this one linear moment. You however are aware, not of single thoughts from a singular attention but of ALL at once ALL the time. You knows it all! And yet, God, you remain intimately, personally aware of me. And your awareness is brimming with love for me. You are thinking about me, dreaming of my potential, smiling to yourself of my childlike efforts to walk upright in your world, to reach up and live up to the eternal destiny you have programmed into my every cell. Right now, you have fixed you full focus on me. God, you think about me, and your thoughts are warm and delightful and hopeful and pleasant and so thankful for your own foresight to have given me a life fixed with you forever. He think more about me every moment. I may sleep and pass in and out of conscious awareness; you never lose your focus. And your focus is me… Oh, I don’t and can’t come close to knowing the full meaning of this. But that’s the point, isn’t it! You are God and you love me. I am not God, and I love you…”

We’re obsessed with building self esteem. That’s futile. What does it matter what I think of myself? When we stupidly grant one human the right to “choose” whether or not another human has “right to life” we have shattered the value of our own souls. Is it any wonder we suffer from an epidemic of low self esteem? We have taken out God-esteem from the human equation and in its placed put on us all the burden of estimating our own worth. God have mercy! We never calculate our own value accurately. We never can. We will always under value our souls. We are too small and finite and our lives are too short to see things clearly. NO! God alone can set the price of value. And he does, by starting the bidding for our souls at infinity, a value that only be matched by the life of his own son…

Psalm 139:13-16 is our certificate of estimated value!

13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
      and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
      Your workmanship is marvelous–how well I know it.
 15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
      as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
 16 You saw me before I was born.
      Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
   Every moment was laid out
      before a single day had passed.

I am designed by you, God. I am intended. I am no accident. I have purpose because you, my God purposed me. I have a role in your story. I am not my own because you created me. I will not steal from you, God. I cannot finally life my own way. That is futile. Accepting the fact that my body is not my own, that my mind and time and emotions and will and all the gifts and passions I believe I possess are not possessions at all is my next step in seeing reality as it reality. I am dis-illusioned from the illusion of autonomy. You made me and therefore you ALONE claim ownership and the right of possession. I cannot sanely or legally make my own way. You allow me to attempt independence, but I fail when I try it. I am wonderful and precious because I am your workmanship. My value and esteem comes from your estimation. You are the assessor of value. You have made me a marvel, a balance and a bridge between the physical and material worlds. Humans alone live in both dimensions. What a mystery and wonder! You started my life as a single cell, brought together in my mother’s womb. Blessed be that moment, the creation of a life that will live forever. My value is not in my own estimation but in your own declaration. And from that moment you etched the fullness of my life and all my days in the granite wall of eternity. You see it all before it is, for time is different for you, a ONE MOMENT past and present and future, that I walk out in sequence, that you see and experience in one living PRESENT. I cannot fathom this, but I can almost imagine it. Today I accept the value you place upon me. I don’t see that value myself. Often I consider myself worthless, just an accidental mass of bios. But this is illusion. I am worth what you are willing to pay for me. And you have paid the final price, the top bid for the right to woo me into a relationship. You set my price. You call my life “Good” and by your own efforts – not mine – call me “The righteousness of God in Christ.” This knowledge is too much for me, to wonderful, to glorious to grasp or appreciate. Give me the power to know and accept this truth… I am precious to you.”

Privacy is an illusion. Psalm 139:7-12

 7 I can never escape from your Spirit!
      I can never get away from your presence!
 8 If I go up to heaven, you are there;
      if I go down to the grave,
you are there.
 9 If I ride the wings of the morning,
      if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
 10 even there your hand will guide me,
      and your strength will support me.
 11 I could ask the darkness to hide me
      and the light around me to become night–
    12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
   To you the night shines as bright as day.
      Darkness and light are the same to you.

“I might imagine that I can have a private life. This is my illusion. I can never avoid your watchful eye. There is no escaping your intimate probing of my soul. You know all about me! Yet at the same time you grant me the right to hold back my heart from you. You know about me but it is possible for me to close the door and to keep you from “KNOWING” me. At the end of time, Jesus says, you may send me away forever saying, “Depart, I never knew you…” This terrifies me. God, come and KNOW me. I realize I have no secrets from you, and that your power and omniscience mean that nothing in all the universe, including my own buried passions are a mystery to you. But I can choose to keep your from knowing me in relationship, from encountering me and walking with me and from being my friend. This is what I want today. Know me as a friend, as a lover, as a covenant partner… Darkness and light are the same to you. I cannot hide in the darkness; so I invite you to bring me into the light and to walk with you in the light… KNOW ME, GOD, as you now know about me!”