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Words of Grace: Psalm 119- New Prayers from An Old Psalm

Built into the New Year’s resolution is the idea that something new needs to be done. Whether it’s a diet, an exercise plan, a budget, or some other lifestyle change that we resolve to begin, it is the newness of the resolution that gives us some hope for change.

If you think about it, most resolutions don’t include a new activity (as if what we intend to start doing has never been done before), but a new start to something that has been helpful to others in the past. There is nothing new about the benefits of getting enough sleep, or keeping a journal, or most other typical resolutions. What’s new is that we decide to do it.

Christians sometimes look for new ways to grow in faith. But maybe we should think of a new start to something that has always been at the heart of Christian growth and maturity. I suggest we make a new and fresh start to the old way of praying that is found in the Bible. More specifically, let’s pray together the prayers found in Psalm 119.

Psalm 119 is a poem and a prayer about God’s word. Of the 176 verses, all but four are directed to God. These prayers relate to God’s word. The psalmist is asking God to do something in him, in his mind and heart, that will lead to faith, obedience, life and joy in his word.

Psalm 119 is also about Jesus. After Jesus rose from the dead, he walked along a road with two of his followers who did not recognize him. Their eyes were not yet opened to see Jesus in a new light. They were still thinking of Jesus as dead. Jesus not only walked with them on the road, but he walked them through the Old Testament and showed them how the Scripture spoke of him. These men came to see Jesus with new eyes. They saw him as alive, and as the Savior and Lord. The point is that in Psalm 119, we see Jesus.

This January at Grace, we will look at Psalm 119 in order to see Jesus. I have chosen four prayers from this psalm for four sermons. The 2020 resolution is for us to have a new start to an old way of praying: praying from God’s word to see and grow in Christ.

This weekend, begin your year with these four prayers from Psalm 119.

Father, open our eyes to see how wonderful Christ is in the word (verse 18). Revive our hearts with the life of Christ and his word (verse 25). Incline our hearts to love Christ and his word (verse 36). Teach us to follow Christ and keep his word (verse 66).

-Scott

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