A Prayer for the Coming Year – Part 1

Monday, December 31, 2018

“Please listen, O Shepherd of Israel… Come to rescue us!”  (Psalm 80:1-2 NLT)

God’s people were evidently facing a dilemma; and to make matters worse, it seemed that it was of their own making, for they were reaping what they had sown.  Whatever it was, a cry goes out from the Psalmist Asaph, as he prays, “Rescue us, O Shepherd of Israel!”

Notice what the Psalmist prays for specifically:  He says, “Turn us back to yourself, O God!”  He’s implying, “We’re going the wrong way, and we can’t get back on track!”

When I was growing up, I would hear people say, “Obey God; follow God!”  And that surely is in the Bible.  But what do you do when you are drifting and can’t get back?  When you find yourself powerless to obey?  When you hear other voices and find yourself getting distracted?  When you are drawn by other things and begin living for material things— a new sofa or car, more money in the bank, another degree? When instead of turning your heart to the Lord, you are caught up with the cares of life?  And now you have soul trouble, and you realize that the things that have been captivating you just don’t satisfy; that when you pass on from this world, those things won’t do anything for you? 

The Psalmist is crying out, “We’ve drifted, and we don’t know how to get back!”  In those instances, there may no longer even be a desire to come back, for the things of this world and the flesh get too ingrained; and the pull gets too strong.  You wanted to stay on the beach, but the undertow has pulled you out farther than you wanted to go.

No wonder the Bible compares us to sheep.  They see a tuft of grass and, left to themselves, they will wander away despite the danger that may be lurking.  Sheep need a shepherd, and so do we!  That’s why Asaph began his prayer the way he did:  “O Shepherd of Israel, rescue us!”

A new year is upon us, and with it may come some difficult moments in our lives—hard times when the enemy of our souls will try to inject hopelessness in our being.  We may face disillusionment and discouragement and even find ourselves adrift at times.  In those moments, let’s remember what the Psalmist taught us to pray: “Lord, you bring us back to yourself.  We don’t know how to get back to you.”

The good news is that God is ready to help us!  He’s ready to rescue us!  He says, “Call upon me when you have no strength and don’t know what to do; and I will bring you back.  I’ll restore you and give you godly desires that will bring blessing and fulfillment to your life!” 

To be continued…

Read Psalm 80:1-6.  

The Prayer Center