Even When It Hurts: March 7, 2021

Even When It Hurts -- Lent 2021 Devotional Book

Read: Psalm 4

When you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.
-Psalm 4:4b

Each night before sleep, I enter the sacred realm of prayer. I structure my prayer time using the ACTS model: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. On any given night, I dwell in each of those four rooms for as long as I need.

Some nights, I am awash with adoration, especially if I have spent time outdoors. On difficult days, I linger in the virtual confessional (a holdover from my youth in the Roman Catholic Church). Thanksgiving is my favorite room, and I usually tarry there for many minutes. If this past year has taught me anything, it is to be thankful for even the smallest of blessings. When I have spent a considerable amount of time giving thanks (which I also do all day long as the Spirit moves me), I move into the final room: Supplication.

Psalm 4 is about supplication:

Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

David opens this psalm with a passionate plea. As one commentary noted, David isn’t throwing up a wayward prayer to the heavens here; he is asking for God’s immediate attention. David asks why the ungodly prosper (sound familiar?) and he laments about those whose ways are contrary to God’s ways (sound familiar again?) At the end of the psalm, David asks God to set him apart for God’s purpose and glory. With this assurance, he sleeps.

When sleep is about to overtake me, I close with a familiar ending I have used for many decades:

Dear Lord, I place my life into Your hands tonight; hold me fast until the morning light. Amen.