Today, in my devotions, I was reading Psalm 80 and I was struck by 5 different phrases.
I’m going to use these as a guide for my prayers throughout the day.
1 Hear us, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock; you who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth
“Hear us”–This prayer comes out of a desperate heart which knows that the only way to survive in this world is to have the undivided attention of the Lord. This is not the prayer of one who doubts the Lord’s ability to hear, but one who doubts his own ability to survive without the help of God.
2 before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh. Awaken your might; come and save us.
“Save us”–This prayer is the equivalent of dialing “9-1-1”. We dial “9-1-1” when we need immediate and decisive help. No messing around. No waiting. Are we confident in God’s ability to offer immediate help, or do we only call out to him when we’ve exhausted all of our best efforts?
3 Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.
“Restore us”–Are we a completed project or a work in continual need of restoration? I’m desperate to be a man after God’s own heart and desperate to be more for God each day, so I make this my prayer, too. Salvation begins with restoration. Restoration begins with God and a humble heart.
14 Return to us, O God Almighty! Look down from heaven and see! Watch over this vine,
“Return to us”–God never leaves the room, but–sometimes–he does look the other way leaving us to struggle with the consequences of our own agenda. This is the prayer of a nation–and a person–longing for God’s full attention again, knowing that–like Jesus–God doesn’t just look at us . . . he sees us and has the power to make things better.
18 Then we will not turn away from you; revive us, and we will call on your name.
“Revive us“–We plan for it and hold it, but do we pray for it . . . revival? What would happen in our churches today if every member really prayed for revival? Wow! If Christians came to meet with the Church already revived then the preacher could do more coaching/teaching than cheering/motivating. Youth and Childrens’ ministers could spend more energy equipping and organizing volunteers and less time desperately recruiting volunteers. Worship ministers might be able to focus more on tapping into our passion for God rather than having to work so hard to awaken it . . . and us . . . on Sunday mornings. And, if Christ’s church was to be revived today, lost people in our communities would have a little more hope before going to bed tonight.