Monday, October 06, 2008

Praying with Moses

Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!”
The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. Who considers the power of your anger,and your wrath according to the fear of you?
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!
Psalm 90:1-3, 10-12, 14, 16-17

(back to Mike)
These are the words of "Moses, the man of God." Yeah...that Moses. Who spoke with God face to face as with a man. Who encountered God up on the mountain in such a powerful way that anyone else who touched the base of the mountain would perish. Who witnessed God's supernatural power and provision in the wilderness in ways that still blow our minds today. In other words, a man whose prayer life I'm curious about! And here's one of his prayers, recorded for posterity.

Notice where Moses starts. The majesty and eternality of God, and our utter dependence upon Him. Pretty good starting place for prayers, don't you think?

He also addresses our unworthiness to come before God at all. And the challenges life brings. "toil and trouble." Life's like that sometimes, isn't it? Frequently, perhaps.

To me, the hinge verse is the one in bold italics above. It's been one of my favorites for some years now. "So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom." That is, in light of (a) Your eternal majesty, Lord, and (b) our sinfulness, and (c) the challenges life brings in its brevity, teach us to be good stewards of the days You give us so that we can get a heart of that wisdom will flow from our very being. As my favorite pastor said just yesterday, "theology should always lead to biography." Moses knew that; do we?

Then Moses said, (paraphrasing) "as You grant us good stewardship of our days and grant us a heart of wisdom, Lord, satisfy us with Your love such that we rejoice. And, us Your work, and show our children Your glorious power. Finally, Lord, make the work we do for You stand."

Psalm 90:12 first spoke deeply to my soul at a friend's 50th birthday party some years back. We had laughed and eaten and basically abused this guy for turning 50. Then we had a prayer time, which was awesome in & of itself. But my friend--who has been a role model & mentor for me in so many ways--closed out the prayer time in thanksgiving and then with this particular verse. It was a holy moment when the Lord's omnipresence seemed real & palpable in ways that made this ancient Psalm come alive.

Moses' prayer list:
--celebrating the unchanging majesty & presence & provision of God
--reminding himself of the brevity & toils of live
--asking to be taught good stewardship of his days in order to receive a heart of wisdom
--asking for God to satisfy him with His presence and His love
--asking for God to show him what He is doing
--asking God to show His power to his children
--asking God to establish the work of His hands.

A pretty good prayer list there. And mine this morning, as Psalm 90 came up in my time with God.

Would you join me in praying with Moses?

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