Note: When asking some writers to help me with these 40 Days of Prayer posts I ended up with two posts on Psalm 96 for today. I intend to post them both, as they are both valuable. I kind of think Monday is a good day for double prayer anyway! JD
Guest Post by Dr. Timothy Gunnells
A judge sits on the bench, robed in black, gavel in hand, looking over the top rim of his glasses in your direction. You are standing several feet below. You have no power. You have no defense. What are your feelings? What is your fate? Are you fearful? Are you anxious? Are you in awe?
When we hear the term judge, we likely conjure up in our minds a similar scene as detailed above. We likely feel some of those emotions. Some who hear “God” hear “judge”, and they shrink back. However, for the one who believes in the righteous Judge seated in heaven the opposite is true; the believer leans forward for protection instead of shrinking back in fear.
The prayer of praise in Psalm 96 paints the picture of God who is the judge of all humankind, feared but also adored. He is to be worshipped. He is to be honored. He is to be revered.
As you read through the 13 verses that comprise this Psalm, contemplate the descriptions of God and draw near to Him in love and devotion. Allow yourself to freely praise Him and pour out your life honestly before Him. Consider these themes from the passage as a guide to your prayer:
*Sing praise to the Lord (perhaps your prayer should be sung) (Psalm 96:1-2)
*Ask for boldness in openly declaring God’s glory to other people (Psalm 96:3)
“Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.” Psalm 96:3
*Tell Him how awesome He is and contemplate His supremacy over all false gods (Psalm 96:4-5)
*Rest in His strength, bask in His splendor, worship Him in humility (Psalm 96:6-9)
*Proclaim His sovereign rule over the earth and His concern for all people (Psalm 96:10)
*Consider the created things that praise Him and join them in praise (Psalm 96:11-12)
*Rejoice in His righteous judgment and His faithfulness (Psalm 96:13)
“My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?” C.S. Lewis
I am able to approach God in prayer more humbly and boldly when I recognize that He is over me and yet He cares for me. His glory and splendor are my salvation.
May God be praised in our prayers and in our lives, Tim.
Dr. Timothy Gunnells is the Director of University Relations at Amridge University in Montgomery, Alabama. You can read his thoughts at his blog Desert Spiritual along with the Twitter account that goes along with it HERE. You can also follow him on Twitter HERE and find him on Facebook HERE. He speaks often on the subject of Spiritual Formation and travels frequently on behalf of the University.