“Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:1-5 NKJV
How do you start off your prayers to God? Do you start them with praise or with a pity party? Because if I’m completely honest, I don’t always, maybe not even often, start with praise. The truth is I’ve been known to launch into a list of concerns a mile long without once stopping to think of the WHO to which I’m really speaking. But I’m praying to the one and only Lord of Lords and King of Kings, the Creator of the universe.
I think back to the account of Elijah and the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18. The prophets of Baal cried out and cut themselves until their blood “gushed out of them”, and “they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice . . .” (1 Kings 18: 28-29 NKJV).
Enter Elijah . . .
He repairs the altar of the Lord. He digs a trench around it and sets it up for a sacrifice, but then he soaks the altar and the sacrifice with water, not one, not two, but three times . . . he soaks it to the point where the water runs off and fills the trench surrounding it . . . then he says, “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” (1 Kings 18:36-37 NKJV).
And the Bible says, “Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench.” (1 Kings 18:38 NKJV) Consumed . . . it doesn’t say singed or scorched . . . it says “consumed” . . . “the fire of the Lord fell and consumed . . .”
This is the God we serve . . . this is the God to which we pray . . . “Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!” If that’s all there was, that would be enough. And that’s where we need to start every single prayer. Not for God because He doesn’t need our praise. But for us because we do need to remember WHO it is we serve. But the Psalmist, King David, beloved of God, didn’t leave it at that, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits . . . “. No, he knew that we also would need to call to remembrance all the benefits that come with serving our God, the one and only true God.
“Who forgives all your iniquities ”
All my inquities. All my sins. All my wrongdoings are forgiven through the blood of Jesus. Without that forgiveness nothing else matters.
“Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
If you’re sick, He’s your healer. If your life is utterly destroyed, He’s your redeemer. He’s not just here to fix you though. That’s the truly awesome thing. He goes beyond the fixing, and straight into the blessing. He “crowns” us with “lovingkindness” and “tender mercies”. He “satisfies” our “mouth with good things”. He “renews” us.
I’ll say it again . . . This is the God we serve . . . This is the God to which we pray. Hebrews 12:29 tells us, “our God is a consuming fire”. Don’t ever forget that. You may feel beat up, sick both emotionally and physically, afraid, and exhausted, but if you’ll take a moment to remember WHO it is you serve, I promise your life will be forever transformed.
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