No doubt as you read these devotional thoughts from the “Pastor’s Pen” you’ve noted I often draw my reflections from my readings in the Psalms. I definitely find my heart responding to and identifying with the interactions the writers of the Psalms have with the Lord. So, once again these remarks spring from one of the Psalms, this time Psalm 109.
In the first four verses, we find David once again being the object of vicious attacks. In this case, verbal attacks – “….they have spoken against me with lying tongues. With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause” (vv. 2, 3/NIV). In response to these very harsh words, I’m struck by David’s simple, but profound words at the end of verse 4 – “….but I am a man of prayer”. Below are a few of my reflections from David’s affirmation.
- In response to this personal attack David doesn’t say, “I am a man of great strength and wisdom – I’ve been down this road before – this doesn’t bother me – I am a man who can handle this”. Rather in his response, “….but I am a man of prayer”, he acknowledges his utter weakness and dependence on the Lord to be his deliverer. “But you, Sovereign Lord, help me for your name’s sake; out of the goodness of your love, deliver me. For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me” (vv. 21, 22). I read somewhere recently that God is wonderfully attracted to our weakness. He longs to move into our areas of weakness, hurt and inabilities with His strength, healing and wisdom. We too have the privilege in response to very strong forces that would come against us to simply say, “….but I am a man/woman of prayer”, not trumpeting our spirituality, but rather declaring our neediness.
- I read in another place recently that any meaningful conversation involves both speaking and listening with equal attention to both parts. The writer went on to say to continually dominate conversations (with our own words and thoughts) is socially rude. He then asked the rather striking question, in our communication with God are we being “rude”, too much talking with very little real listening? I believe a man or woman of prayer, of prayerful dependence on the Lord, will not only regularly call out to God, but will also be quiet, really quiet long enough to hear what God is saying to them in the midst of any given situation. Here I think of David’s words in Psalm 62:1 (NASV) – “My soul waits in silence for God only; from Him is my salvation.”
We’re all familiar with the childhood rhyme – “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” We’re also very aware of how untrue is this little limerick. Unkind words are very, very hurtful and in Psalm 109 David is the recipient of very unkind, hurtful and devaluing words. But in David’s response, “….but I am a man of prayer”, I sense he is finding his significance, his true value, his stability and identity in communion with the Heavenly Father both in speaking and listening prayer.
And so, I believe in the face of strong enemies that would come against us we too can affirm, “….but I am a man/woman of prayer”, crying out to God in our weakness, waiting in silence with expectancy and knowing I am a valued child of God!
More about Ralph
One Challenge was blessed to have mission pastor Ralph Anderson, and his wife Joyce, at OC International for over 20 years. They tended to our souls through the Word, prayer, counsel, and encouragement. In 2020, Ralph handed over this role to Gill, another great man of the Lord, who is walking alongside OC workers in their ministry journey together.