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Prayer: From Dust to Life

23292_PRAYER

 

Review

This Sunday we looked at Psalm 119:25-32 and considered how we might learn from the psalmist's example of prayer as the psalmist pours out his soul to God. If you missed the sermon, you can catch up here with our podcast.

I invite you to read through this week's Scripture text, meditate on it, and consider how you might follow the psalmist's example of prayer.

Psalm 119:25-32

25 My soul clings to the dust;
    give me life according to your word!
26 When I told of my ways, you answered me;
    teach me your statutes!
27 Make me understand the way of your precepts,
    and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
28 My soul melts away for sorrow;
    strengthen me according to your word!
29 Put false ways far from me
    and graciously teach me your law!
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
    I set your rules before me.
31 I cling to your testimonies, O Lord;
    let me not be put to shame!
32 I will run in the way of your commandments
    when you enlarge my heart!

Structure

Notice how the psalmist organizes his thoughts in this stanza of Psalm 119––there are two parallel movements in the text (vv. 25-27, and vv. 28-30) followed by resolution to the psalmist's prayer.

I. From dust to life (vv. 25-27)

II. From sorrow to strength (vv. 28-30)

III. Resolution (vv. 31-32)

He begins to pour out his soul to God (vv. 25, 27), seeking life and strength according to God's Word. He then turns to confess his sin and false ways (vv. 26, 28), and seeks God's instruction. Last, he turns his eyes to God to meditate on His wonders (vv. 27, 30). In the resolution of his prayer (vv. 32-32), we see that he has been transformed. No longer does he cling to the dust (v. 25), but he clings to God's testimonies (v. 31). No longer does he melt away for sorrow (v. 28), but he will run on the path of God's commands (v. 32).

Quotes

Here's a few quotes that I read during the sermon that are worth revisiting:

Jonathan Edwards: "Resolved: To exercise myself in this all my life long, with the greatest openness to declare my ways to God, and lay open my soul to Him––all my sins, temptations, difficulties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires, and everything, and every circumstance…"

John Bunyan: "Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the heart or soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit, for such things as God hath promised, or according to the Word, for the good of the church, with submission, in faith, to the will of God."

Discussion Questions

I invite you to discus these truths at home with your family, and also with our church family at this week’s Community Group meetings. Below are many discussion questions for you to consider.

General Questions
  1. What are the highlights? What stood out to you from the text?
  2. What questions do you have?
  3. What points of application did you take away from the text?
Text Specific Questions
vv. 25-27
  • How does the psalmist move from clinging to the dust (v. 25) to meditating on God's Word (v. 27)?
  • What is the testimony of Scripture as it speaks about God being a giver of life?
  • What is the significance of the psalmist praying according to God's Word (v. 25)?
  • What is the solution to the psalmist's ways (v. 26)?
  • What petition is repeated through these verses?
vv. 28-30
  • How does the psalmist move from melting with sorrow (v. 28) to setting God's Word before his eyes (v. 30)?
  • What is the testimony of Scripture as it speaks about God's strength?
  • What can we learn from the contrast of false ways to the way of faithfulness?
  • What does it look like for God to remove false ways from us?
  • How might we set His Word before our eyes?
vv. 31-32
  • How does the psalmist change from clinging to dust to clinging to God's testimonies?
  • How does the psalmist change from melting in sorrow to running on the path of God's commands?
Closing Questions
  • Is it easy or difficult to pour out your soul to God? Why or why not?
  • Why is it important to pray according to the Word of God? How do you learn to pray according to God's Word? What goes wrong when we do not pray in this way?
  • When it comes to prayer, what are some of your greatest challenges?
  • How would you like to grow in prayer this year?

May God teach us to pray, and give us life and strength according to His Word!

Pastor Ben