Today, we continue sharing devotionals from the book Let’s Pray: Talking to God with the Words of the Bible, by Dr. James Banks, who serves as a pastor at Peace Church in Durham, North Carolina and is a regular writer for Our Daily Bread.
In this short book, we are reminded that the prayers of the Bible are an amazing gift from God and they have so much to teach us.
This is what Alex and Stephen Kendrick talk about in their book The Battle Plan for Prayer in the chapter called ‘Praying the Word.’ In the prayers of scripture, we find words that can help carry our thoughts and emotions to God. He invites us closer to him through the prayers of the Bible.
This week, we continue to share prayers from the Word to confess sin and to humble ourselves.
Dr. Banks writes that of all of Jesus’ names and titles, the one that he likes best is the one that the Pharisees gave him: Friend of Sinners. It may have been one of Jesus’ favorites too, because in Luke 19:10 he said he “came to seek and save those who are lost.” Friend of Sinners best captures the reason He came. Why is that? Because a true friend will love you even when you don’t deserve it and will look for you when you’ve lost your way. Jesus does all of that and more. John 15:13 reminds us that there is “no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
All of us like friendship, but we need to remember that friendship is a two-way street. So as we think of Jesus as our friend, we need to ask ourselves – what kind of friend am I to Jesus? If I’m someone’s friend I’m going to care about our relationship. I’ll be mindful of things that could be hurtful or cause distance between us. Nothing causes Jesus more pain than sin. Remembering how much my sins cost Jesus helps me be a better friend to him. So the Bible’s prayers of confession and humbling ourselves before God also remind us to be a better friend.
Today we’re addressing what we do when we are faced with overwhelming guilt. One verse that we can pray is Psalm 38…
1 Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your wrath.
2 Your arrows have pierced me,
and your hand has come down on me.
3 Because of your wrath there is no health in my body;
there is no soundness in my bones because of my sin.
4 My guilt has overwhelmed me
like a burden too heavy to bear.
5 My wounds fester and are loathsome
because of my sinful folly.
6 I am bowed down and brought very low;
all day long I go about mourning.
7 My back is filled with searing pain;
there is no health in my body.
8 I am feeble and utterly crushed;
I groan in anguish of heart.
18 I confess my iniquity;
I am troubled by my sin.
Then follow with Psalm 119, verses 169-176:
169 May my cry come before you, Lord;
give me understanding according to your word.
170 May my supplication come before you;
deliver me according to your promise.
171 May my lips overflow with praise,
for you teach me your decrees.
172 May my tongue sing of your word,
for all your commands are righteous.
173 May your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.
174 I long for your salvation, Lord,
and your law gives me delight.
175 Let me live that I may praise you,
and may your laws sustain me.
176 I have strayed like a lost sheep.
Seek your servant,
for I have not forgotten your commands.
Thanks for listening!
– Todd and Joe