July 20

Psalm 138

“On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul.” vs. 3S

Sometimes we wonder what good it does to pray. We’re told to offer prayers regularly, for victims of mass shootings, for people threatened by massive forest fires, for the people of Ukraine, for those afflicted with dread disease–the list goes on and on. And so we do, some of us faithfully day after day, but often there are questions, especially when nothing seems to happen. The psalmist must have thought about such things too, and provides guidance to those living 2500 years in the future. He says that when he prays God answers, not in giving him all that he has asked for, but in increasing the strength of his soul! Wow! That’s something to think about. He’s saying that the best reason for praying is internal, it strengthens the essence of who we are, the point of our closest connection to Christ. Whenever we pray then, sometimes in a long litany of names and petitions, and no matter whether our requests are granted, we are being changed in a most remarkable way. And there’s evidence for this in our communities of faith. Who are the folks who seem to remain solid and even grow in their relationship to God through the years? Is it not those who we suspect may have regular times for prayer and meditation every day? Perhaps they grow in faith because the psalmist’s assertion is true. We won’t know unless we try it!

Thought for the Day: What’s the relationship between prayer and faith in my life?

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