In my quiet time a couple of weeks ago, I read through Psalm 90 in the New Living Translation. It’s a familiar psalm, but when I got to the last verse, I stopped in my tracks. I grew up reading and studying the New American Standard Bible and the New International Version. I love both of them. But I’m growing to to love the NLT. Its freshness is easy to read. Sometimes, however, the translation is completely different than what I expect. That was the case a few mornings ago. Below are the two translations of verse 17 that I am most used to.
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands. (Psalm 90:17 NIV)
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; And confirm for us the work of our hands; Yes, confirm the work of our hands. (Psalm 90:17 NASB)
Establish the work of our hands.
Confirm the work of our hands.
I pray these words over my husband and his job almost every day. I asked myself, What exactly do I mean when I pray those words? My answer to that is this: I want his work to have meaning and I want it to last.
But the New Living Translation sheds new light.
And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful! (Psalm 90:17 NLT)
This struck a new chord with me. Yes, when I pray for my husband and his work, I do pray that he is successful. But what about me? I stopped and journaled all that was on my heart. I rarely pray for myself. And I certainly don’t pray that God would make my efforts successful! Why, that would be promoting myself!
Or would it?
I have this blog. My goal for this blog is to encourage women in their walk with Christ. My desire is for anything I write to bring glory to God! Of course I want it to be successful! Of course I should pray that God will grant favor on my efforts so that He is glorified (Proverbs 16:3)! Not to advance “my kingdom,” but to advance His Kingdom–so many would know Christ.
Do you pray for yourself that God would bring success to your efforts so that He is glorified in your life?
Shortly afterward, I had a couple of harried and hectic days. When I finally got to bed, all I wanted (and desperately) needed–was good sleep. Well. Good sleep does not come easily anymore. Hot flashes and night sweats are my evening companions. As I closed my eyes, I asked God for the gift of sleep for that night. You know what? I slept all night. The first time in weeks, or months! When I woke up, I realized–I rarely pray for myself! Do you?
Do you pray for yourself to sleep well at night? The psalmists prayed for sleep (Psalm 3:5; Psalm 4:8).
I used to run. A lot. But now I have achy knees and ankles. The elliptical is my current friend. But even an extended stint on that machine leaves my joints stiff and sore. You know what I realized? I rarely pray for myself and the healing of my physical body.
When you are sick or injured (especially in minor situations), do you pray for yourself to be healed or to recover quickly? We should follow the example of the woman who squeezed through the crowd, simply to touch Jesus’ robe. She was healed immediately (Mark 5:25-29).
Why am I not praying for myself?
So many people need prayer. My husband, my children, my parents, Tim’s parents, Tim’s sisters who give full-time care for his parents. My sisters, my brother. Many dear friends on Facebook who are walking through deep trenches of suffering.
The list goes on …
With so many other people who desperately need prayer, who am I to focus on myself?
If I don’t pray for myself, I’m not going to be the best deal I can be for others who need me.If I don't pray for myself, I'm not going to be the best deal I can be for others who need me.
The thing is, when I’m desperate, I cry out to God. Please let me sleep! I need it tonight! But do I bring Him everything that concerns me? He wants me to (1 Peter 5:7).
God won’t say Yes all the time. But He wants us to ask Him. He is a good Father and wants to give us good things (Matthew 7:9-11). But sometimes He says No–which is in favor of a better Yes later.
There are many things that He absolutely will say Yes to! Here are a few.
Do you want to know God deeper? I often pray Paul’s prayers for the churches, for my family and my friends. Guess what, we can pray those over ourselves (Ephesians 1:17-19; Ephesians 3:16-19; Philippians 1:9-11; Colossians 1:9-12)!
Do you need God to help you get through your deep trench of suffering? He may not remove your situation. He may not even make the situation easier. But He will walk with you through it. And day by day, He’ll give you what you need (2 Corinthians 12:9; Isaiah 43:2).
Do you need to understand a complicated situation and make a wise decision? God will give you all the wisdom you need to make the right decision. All you have to do is ask (James 1:5).
So I’m turning things around
I’m giving myself permission to pray for everything that concerns me. From my blog, to my physical needs, and my walk with Christ … and my sleep. Even my need for the right parking place! If it’s a Yes, then Yippee! If it’s a No, I may not feel like shouting Yippee, but I will trust God to provide exactly what I need at that moment.
The point is, we need to be praying for ourselves, along with the myriad of others on our prayer list.
Will you join me?Pray about EVERYTHING that concerns you! (1 Peter 5:7)