Meditation Monday, June 28, 2021

“Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name.”

Psalm 86:11

Psalm 86 was written by the Psalmist at a time he was suffering under attacks from his enemies; a time when he asks God to pay attention to him and his situation. Psalm 86 is a prayer of lament. I, myself, find that lamenting can be an uncomfortable practice. I have been taught to be “nice.” I do not want to seem presumptuous with God or appear ungrateful. On the surface, this might seem noble; spiritual even. But this type of thinking can lead to feelings of self-sufficiency and fly in the face of God’s steadfast love and compassion. 

Does that mean lament isn’t a good thing? Absolutely not! Offering up prayers of lament enable us to give voice to grief. It is a raw and honest prayer anchored in our real-life experiences. “Life shouldn’t look like this” we say to God! If lament is a good thing, then what is Psalm 86’s message?

Well, in the middle of this gritty psalm, the psalmist seems to “do a 180.” He unexpectedly says “…give me an undivided heart to revere your name.”  The psalmist acknowledges that he cannot go any further without God’s strength. He cannot get away from the haters on his own; he needs an intention of focus and clarity that goes deeper than his own emotional response. He asks God to teach him to move from focusing on the demise of his enemies toward God’s truth. 

The psalmist, by the grace of God, learns that he when he feels he cannot take it anymore, he needs to admit it to God and ask for help. He needs to ask for a forgiving heart, and a renewed concentration to resist sin and follow God’s truth. There is no way on God’s green earth that he can manufacture this himself. Neither can we. We need to ask God to teach us his ways in our inner being.

Prayer: God, sometimes it is hard to admit that in every disagreement there are two sides. It is so much easier to blame and point our fingers. We ask that you gather up our conflicting desires and our jumbled-up perspectives. We ask that you give us an undivided heart so we too can revere your name. Amen.