This week, I led a devotional at a ladies’ Bible study.
I am sharing part of it with you here.
It is inspired by the book, “Living the Psalms” by Charles Swindoll.
I chose Psalm 42,
because I have always liked the hymn based on it, which starts —
“As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs after you”…
This chapter in Swindoll’s book is called “The Grind of Inner Turmoil”.
As we approach the end of another year,
many of us are filled with “inner turmoil”.
I have been, and the ladies in the Bible study have also.
In Psalm 42, and its partner, Psalm 43 both say,
“Why are you in despair my soul? Why have you become disturbed?”
I have been there, disturbed with worry, in despair.
But then both Psalms also say,
“Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him”.
That is the remembering,
when we remember times that we have praised God,
and we know we will be praising Him again, for He is faithful, and never forsakes us.
How can we remember what God has done?
Rituals help pull my mind back to God.
1 — The ritual of song, using favorite hymns or current religious songs,
or Christmas music, to listen to or sing along with.
Repeating the songs over and over until you can bring them to mind easily.
2 — The ritual of reading Scriptures, reading and writing favorite verses over and over,
until you have memorized several verses.
Memorizing Scripture is very helpful, so you can repeat them
whenever turmoil or worry threatens to take over your mind.
3 — The ritual of prayer, asking God for help and for peace,
but to even better calm your worry, a familiar prayer works best.
I say the “Lord’s Prayer” over and over, until peace fills my mind.
Most of us can easily come up with songs to remember.
Here are the lyrics for the song I mentioned, “As the deer”,
” As the deer pants for the water
So my soul longs after you.
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship you.
You alone are my strength, my shield.
To you alone will my spirit yield.
You alone are my hearts desire
And I long to worship you.”
For some of us, remembering a Scripture verse is harder.
One of the Scripture verses I have memorized, and use every day, is Proverbs 3:5-6,
“Trust in God with all your heart,
and lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge God,
and He will direct your paths.”
So when you are overwhelmed in worry, or illness, and in despair —
come back to one or all of these rituals to calm your mind,
and find peace, hope, and direction through song, prayer, and Scripture.
It is what I do every day,
but at times, I need to repeat them many times in one day,
and it never fails to bring me peace and hope.
The rituals never fail to help me remember praises for God’s blessings.
I will end with the prayer I have said thousands of times in my life.
There are several different versions of the Lord’s Prayer, but here is one —
“Our Father in Heaven,
hallowed be your name,
Your Kingdom come,
your will be done on earth,
as it is in Heaven.
Give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil,
for thine is the Kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory for ever,