Sometimes I need to declare the truth of God’s word over myself. Actively reading, writing and intentionally taking God’s words into my mind and heart begins a conversation. Asking the Holy Spirit to guide me to the treasure that is hidden in plain sight, the truth that is contained in God’s words, and the applications he has for me today no matter what I face.
When my daughters were little my husband and I often tucked them into bed with prayers. One of our prayers was from Psalm 4’s final verse, “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” This declaration reminded us of God’s watchful protection and availability. Twenty years later, I can still hear a sleepy seven and ten-year-olds putting their hands together and saying this verse with me.
Psalm 4, like so many of the Psalms, takes the reader on a journey from recalling God’s faithfulness to reaching a place of complete surrender and certainty.
1Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have given me relief when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
Lord, I thank you that you hear me, and you are always available, day or night. You have helped me when I was afraid. You have overflowed with grace to me, and I really need that now. You have a proven track record and have never failed me.
2 O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame?
How long will you love vain words and seek after lies?
God, sometimes it feels as if those around me are mocking me and focused on revealing my faults and failures. As they continue to seek flattery and things that are not true, help me to refocus my attention on who you say I am.
3 But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.
Thank you that you have set me apart for your purposes. As I am walking in that, you are always close by my side and ready to hear my calls of confusion, distress or fear, and my cries for help.
4 Be angry, and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.
Lord, please help me. When anger tries to rule my heart and lead me into temptation, guide me back to you. Please teach me how to hold my tongue. It is far too often the weapon that is used against me. Help me to practice the discipline of silence and rest.
5 Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the Lord.
Show me what is pleasing to you. Help me to give up and give away what is not needed, even when I think I want it. Even when I fear that if I let it go, I may regret it. You, alone can satisfy all my needs. Help me to put myself and those I love in your hands every minute of every day.
6 There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?
Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!”
Help me to testify to your goodness. Help me to point others to all the ways you’re working and displaying masterpieces before our eyes. Help me to daily see your face.
7 You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound.
While others may feast on food and wine, let me find all my soul sustaining satisfaction in you, alone. You are my abundant provider.
8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
As I lie down tonight to surrender to your care, help me to demonstrate to all around me, how amazing it is to trust you even in my slumber. Only you can truly keep me safe in this world and into the world to come, forever.
Perhaps this soul tending practice might be something you might want to try? I would love to hear about what God reveals to you in this process. Let me know in the comments.