1The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
2Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
3There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
4yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
5which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
6Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them;
and nothing is hid from its heat.
7The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure,
making wise the simple;
8the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
enlightening the eyes;
To me, prayer and personal reflection are crucial elements of Lent. During this season, we prepare ourselves once again to face the horror of Jesus’ execution by an empire obsessed with wealth and power and we prepare to rejoice at the way God turned death on its head through the resurrection of our Lord.
The Psalmist reminds us of an aspect of prayer that is often lost in our noisy, sound-bite, social media–cluttered lives: “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words …” (vv. 1-3).
I like to imagine being with Jesus when he would go to a lonely place to pray for so many hours—maybe the 40 days and 40 nights he spent in the wilderness, or the night he was betrayed. I doubt he would be chattering the whole time, repeating his petitions and praises over and over. I imagine he would often be deeply silent amidst the glorious vastness of his Father’s firmament, receiving intimate knowledge, instruction, comfort, and power.
It’s no accident that this same psalm continues by extolling God’s perfect law, testimony, precepts, commandments, word, decrees, and statutes. Whether God’s messages for me are written on parchment, paper, a website, or within the fabric of this awesome God-filled universe, may I be silent enough to receive them. As nothing is hidden from the heat of the sun, so may I allow God’s light to purify the shadowy corners of my life.
Prayer: Majestic Creator, Jesus our Lord, and Holy Spirit of truth and comfort, please enter deeply into my messy life. Show me what needs to change, give me the strength to make these changes, dazzle me with the glory of your presence, and empower me to love anew.
Bruce DeJong is a family physician working in rural south India, partnering with many to touch lives with healing and God’s grace.