(c) 2010 beth willis miller
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Delight Yourself in the Lord
One of my favorite Scriptures is Psalm 37:4…“Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” I discovered a great acrostic memory tool for the word, “delight,” which describes how I have come to apply this verse to my life:
I have found over the years that many times my prayers center on what I want the Lord to do: I intercede for people who are critically ill battling disease. There’s a great need in a missionary family in Burkina Faso, West Africa, so I petition daily for God’s help on their behalf. On the home front, I may pray for my
children to do better in school, a friend’s job situation or marriage to improve, relief from stress, or many other desires. All of these are valid requests, which if answered in the way I hope, would delight me. But I have learned that this verse calls me to a different prayer focus: to stop and center my heart on the Lord and make him my delight.
According to Psalm 37:4, if we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our hearts. To delight means to take great pleasure or to find joy and satisfaction in something. Though it’s impossible for us to find our greatest pleasure and delight in God through our own strength, our Heavenly Father has provided a way: his Spirit graciously reveals Jesus to us and causes us to fall more and more in love with him. Then we find great delight in him and in his presence.
My daily prayer, the desire of my heart, has become, “Lord, I want to delight in you! Center my heart in knowing you more and loving you more day by day. Help me to discover that there is fullness of joy in your presence and to take great delight in my relationship with you. May my heart desire you above everything else.”
It’s been ten years since I first began to pray this prayer in March 2000 after returning from a trip to Israel in which I walked beside the Sea of Galilee and on the Mount of Olives, to all the historical sites in Jerusalem, Capernaum, and Bethlehem. During this time in my study of the Scriptures, I came to a place in my life where I wanted, more than anything else, to love God more. I began to pray, “Lord, I want to delight in you!” God is so inconceivably good. He’s not looking for perfection. He already saw it in Christ. He’s looking for affection. That’s why every lasting change will invariably be a change of heart. He’ll even supply the heart, if we’ll ask him.
My daily prayer continues to this day, “Lord Jesus, give me a heart which yearns for Your Presence, a yearning for You that draws me over and over into Your Presence, a yearning that makes only a few days without time in prayer and Your Word seem like an eternity. Give me a heart which is motivated first and foremost by a desire for You, not for what You can do for me, but a yearning for Your Presence. Give me a heart that wants You more than anything else You could give, to love You and know You more than anything in life. Give me a heart that takes what You have made known to me and makes You re-known to everyone else, a heart that makes Your name and renown the desire of my heart. Give me a heart to feel Your Holy Spirit woo me once again to the place where I meet You. In the simplicity of my prayer time, give me a heart to be suddenly confronted by the majesty of my Redeemer—the One Who is responsible for any good in me. Lord, each morning, give me a heart that seeks Your forgiveness for past sins, and welcomes Your fresh mercies which fall like manna from Heaven, and once again move my heart. I surrender all. Morning after morning.”
I discovered another great acrostic memory tool for the word, “praise,” which I have applied as a prayer format during my quiet time each morning:
PRAISE: I begin my prayer time with praise. I repeat to God a few of the attributes the Scripture records for him. I sometimes repeat to Him the words to a hymn or worship chorus. Philippians 4:6 says, “In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” I incorporate thanksgiving into every aspect of my prayer time. As I praise Him, I thank Him for choosing to reveal Himself to me.
REPENTANCE: After I have spent several minutes in praise and worship, I enter a time of confession and repentance. I confess sins of the thought life such as wrong motives, negativism, a critical spirit, or even right words with a wrong heart. As I repent, I thank Him for His faithfulness to forgive my sins.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT: Having praised Him and been purified by Him, I am ready to submit to God’s authority. I acknowledge His right to rule and reign in my life every day. Then willingly and deliberately I submit myself to His Lordship—one day at a time. I deliberately surrender to His Lordship with my heart. I acknowledge Him as Lord and thank Him for being so trustworthy with His authority.
INTERCESSION: I ask God to burden my heart with specific people He wants me to intercede for each day. As I intercede for others, I thank Him for being my Great High Priest and adding power to my petitions.
SUPPLICATION: I enter into a time of prayer for myself. God has called each of us to love Him, serve Him, and live holy lives. I can only know Him intimately when I bring Him my innermost thoughts, fears, hurts, gains, losses, and desires. I ask Him to give me a heart to love Him more and to fill any empty places in my heart with the safety of His love. In supplication for myself, I thank Him for knowing me intimately and desiring that I know Him.
EQUIPPING: I conclude my prayer time by asking Him to equip me in every way for a victorious day. I ask Him to give me eyes that “see” Him and ears sensitized to “hear” Him. I ask Him to give me a heart to respond when He opens a door of opportunity, and to empower me to witness as He leads. As I ask for equipping, I thank Him for never calling on me to do anything He will not readily equip me to accomplish.
I experience the promise and the truth of Psalm 37:4 every day—that if I delight myself in the Lord, He will give me the desire of my heart. Though it’s impossible for me to find my greatest pleasure and delight in God through my own strength, my Heavenly Father has provided a way—his Spirit graciously reveals Jesus to me morning after morning and all day long, causing me to fall more and more in love with Him through the Scriptures and my prayer time. One day at a time, God is giving me the desire of my heart—to delight in Him every day.
Personal Application--In what ways might you find more ways to "delight yourself in the Lord"?
(c) 2010 beth willis miller