May I be honest with my readers tonight? I am struggling tonight. Very much so. It’s just one of those nights where it is taking more energy than usual to climb up and out of this heavy darkness that threatens to undo me at times.
I despise nights like this…nights when I am anxiety-ridden, nights when I can’t seem to settle down. Nights when the night ahead seems eternally long, and the ironic fear is that it will be terminally short on sleep.
A friend wrote an encouraging and very interesting blog post today about praying the gospel and how that can create two things essential to real evangelism–humility and confidence. Both of which I have little of, but that is not the point I wish to make here tonight. Instead, I want to capitalize upon his suggestion of praying the gospel in such a way that I hope it will settle my soul. And maybe help yours as well.
His suggestion is that we “take a familiar passage and make it personal”, and by doing so there is a greater chance that the life-giving words will work on your soul and mind so as to produce the qualities mentioned above-humility and confidence. (an idea based on Tim Keller’s words that can be read here on J.D. Greear’s blog) But it also, I believe, can not only cultivate humility and confidence, but–I hope–I pray–will also create an awareness of peace in the midst of a storm, whether that storm is visible or hidden in the depths of your soul and mind.
This can often be done with the Psalms (though admittedly not evangelistic per se), without even having to change many of the pronouns. For example, I need Psalm 4 to be truth for me:
1 Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer! 2 O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah 3 But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him. 4 Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah 5 Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord. 6 There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” 7 You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. 8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.