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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, November 25, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Psalm 95:1–7

O come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and the dry land, which his hands have formed.
O come, let us worship and bow down,
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.
O that today you would listen to his voice! (NRSV)

The psalms are the worship songs of Jews and Christians. There are certain key words in each psalm that unite the whole and guide us into adoration, confession, thanksgiving, or supplication (the A-C-T-S of worship). In Psalm 95, you may note that “joy” is mentioned twice; “thanksgiving” is a twin of “joy,” giving the psalm a spirit of celebration. “Pasture” and “sheep” are picture words that describe our relationship to God, a relationship of loving dependence. How has God been like a shepherd to you—providing for your physical sustenance and leading you to pastures that give purpose to your life?

You may be surprised at what insight can be gained in reading through the verses above twice. On the first reading, just let the praise wash over you as you seek to make the psalmist’s words your words of love and adoration. That is, don’t overthink it; just let your heart pray it back to your God. On the second reading, have a journal and pen in hand in expectation, with today’s date at the top. Jot down the key words that unite the whole and help you as you are called to Adore God, or Confess your sins; to Thank God for specific blessings, or “Supplicate” God (i.e., ask God for help on specific challenges or fears you are facing). Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication.

In worship each Sunday, how have you noticed this same design helping us to draw close to God and have our souls nourished? In these ten minutes that have started your day, you may be amazed to feel that you have actually connected with God personally, that you have entered into your day in a spirit of worship.

Great and loving God, we praise you for the awesome wonders of your creation: from the depths of the Grand Canyon to the heights of the mountains; from the vastness of the oceans to the great plains carpeted with crops that nourish our bodies. We praise you for the relationship you have initiated with us—to guide us into the unique purpose you have for each. By the Spirit of Jesus living within us we ask that you would translate these blessings into a burning desire that we would conform our will to your will and our lives to helping others thrive in body and in faith. We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.

Written by David Handley, Interim Minister for Pastoral Care

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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