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Rejoice

Language of Prayer   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Psalm 103 ESV
Of David. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word! Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will! Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Prayer is the experience of all that God is and all that God does.

we need this because we forget
we need this because we compartmentalize God
We believe that God works in this place but not that. In the church but not at home. With this person but not that person.
We need this because we compartmentalize our lives and ministry
we change the all to some or most.
Our prayer language needs to include all that God is and all that God does.
in your groups answer how the way you pray reflects on what you believe to be true about God.

Prayer is a reminder

Psalm 103:1–2 ESV
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,
Even the psalmist has to tell himself. He has to coach himself to bless God. To not forget Him and His benefits.
Prayer is not a feel like it moment. If we only prayed when we felt like it, how often would we pray. We often approach prayer as it relates to how we feel. We need to pray to change how we think and believe.
We are reminded because we forget. We forget who God is, we forget His benefits.
If you have ever walked through a room and forgotten why you came into that room in the first place,
If you have ever lost something and found it on your person, you need to remember.
If you have ever pulled into a space in the front of a store or a driveway in front of a house and realized in that moment that you went on autopilot and actually needed to be somewhere else, you may need help reminding.
When we pray we announce and we proclaim the goodness of God. We proclaim that God is a benefit and that He is one who has brought all of the goodness of who He is upon us.
We have to remind ourselves because we are being forever reminded. We have to do the work of reminding ourselves of what matters most and to whose we are.
If we don’t the reminding will be done for us. It may seem strange to think of prayer as a reminder but a lot of this Psalm isn’t asking God for anything it is just communicating who God is.
We are reminded that if we don’t buy this or that we don’t matter
We are reminded we don’t act as well or look as good as other on social media
We are reminded of all the things we could otherwise be doing
The reminding is done for us.
We need to take the reminding on ourselves and make sure we are reminded of the right things.
What do you need to be reminded of about God?
Psalm 103:3–5 ESV
who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Prayer as an encounter

Psalm 103:6–8 ESV
The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Prayer is reminder but it is not only reminder. It is also an encounter. Prayer is the means through which we encounter God.
It is how we grow in knowing who He is and how He acts.
It is how we experience Him and all His benefits
Oliver Burkeman has a great article in the guardian about seeing Da Vinci’s the Last Supper in Milan. A proclaimed Athiest he talks about the spiritual experience of seeing it. He tells us stepping into a thin place. A term used by celtic Christians about the place where heaven and earth met. He writes that thin places have “been called "the places in the world where the walls are weak", where another dimension seems nearer than usual.”
He isn’t sure what dimension he is really talking about but that idea of the places in the world where the walls are weak help us to understand the act of prayer.
In prayer we enter into the presence of GOd. WE enter into His realm, following Jesus in His prayer “your kingdom come your will be done,” we pray the reality of heaven on earth. That which is true about God and His kingdom be done on earth.
That is what happens when we pray
The walls are weak because we recognize what true strength is.
Prayer is more than just obligation or act or ritual. It is entering into Presence. It is the invitation to be with God. And I think we sometimes miss that because we approach prayer not to know God but to get from God.
This is the constant reminder of the Christian because it is easy to approach God as someone we get stuff from instead of someone we spend time with.
No relationship lasts when your only perspective is to get. When you are constantly trying to get from someone else the relationship will naturally atrophy. And those relationships implode and become frustrations.
It is easy to become frustrated with prayer, with God, when our goal is to get.
The goal of prayer is not getting but encounter.
The goal of encounter is to be with the one you are encountering
The psalm says that He made His ways known to Moses and His acts to Israel. God is not distant and waiting, He is close and acting.
And our role is to be near enough to Him that we see what He is doing. Not just that we act in a way that lines up with our desires but that we see God for who He is.
How have you encountered God in prayer. Where you recognized you were talking about the God of the Universe?

Prayer as exchange

Psalm 103:10–12 ESV
He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As we encounter the God of the Bible. As we know Him through what He states in the Word and encounter Him in our lives we see that God does not just invite us into encounter, He invites us into exchange.
The passage starts with the idea that he does not treat us according to our sins or repay us according to our iniquity.
This is reminiscent of psalm 51. Calling out for God to show mercy.
In this psalm though the writer is confident of who God is and that God will exchange our brokenness for His love.
We get a picture of a Savior and MEssiah in this passage.
God Himself whose love extends as high as the heavens are above the earth
That’s an interesting picture.
how high are the heavens above the earth?
You can measure one end, where heaven and earth are distinct. But there is no other end. As far and wide as you can think, God’s love is further.
show medieval picture of guy looking out of the cosmos
Print of a guy who is poking his head out of beyond what he thinks exists. Flammarion. Looking past what he knows.
God is showing us what His love does. He exchanges then our transgressions for His love.
as far is the east is from the west.
Where does the distinction begin between east and west. Everything is east of and west of something. It begins where you are. God takes our brokenness and splits it as far as the east is from the west.
The point in this is that you cannot measure it.
God doesn’t only do more than what we could do
Moving transgressions from one state to another.
God does more than we can comprehend or even measure.

Prayer encounters all of God beyond all we can comprehend.

But God gives us Himself. We may not understand all the mysteries of God. WE see the psalmist trying to capture it all, all of God.
But while we can’t capture all of God
We have a God who gave Himself to us.
Christ has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west
Christ has shown the love that is beyond the heavens
and Christ has given Himself for us that we would know Him.
We may not know everything, the all of God, but we know Him.
If you want to know God the all of God, you can encounter Him in prayer. And to encounter Him in prayer is to know Him. We know Him because of Christ.
We are going to sing a closing song but if you want to know Christ we will be up here to pray for you after service.
If you want to encounter Christ and exchange His love for your transgressions please come up. We would love to pray for you.
Take time in your group to pray and encounter the all of God. Use Psalm 103 to recognize the benefits of God and pray back the psalm to Him.
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