This week, Richard Coekin (CEO of Co-Mission and Senior Pastor of Dundonald Church) encourages us with the words of another psalm.
‘Lead me to the rock that is higher than I’ - Psalm 61
However tough we are, we all get exhausted sometimes. Perhaps after a tiring week at work, after a stressful day with small children, or after months of wearying anxiety and adjustment under lockdown. Where do we go when we feel weak and weary? Where do we suggest our kids go when they’re struggling?
Some people seem to think that heading for the pub for a few beers will do the trick! Apart from the fact that lots of us can’t afford that, or are still self-isolating, or can’t stand the pub, how do a few beers actually change anything? Aren’t the problems still there the next day – along with a sore head?
Christians have a wonderful place to go for the comfort and reassurance we all need sometimes. This beautiful Psalm 61 asks God, ‘lead me to the rock that is higher than I’ (verse 2), referring to the great rock of Mount Zion on which Jerusalem, with its temple – the dwelling place of God, was located. The Bible teaches us that, like Mount Sinai before it, the rock of Mount Zion is a picture of God himself, revealed to us in Jesus Christ. Indeed, the ‘rock’ on which Jesus said he is building his church is the gospel of Jesus, the Messiah and Son of God (Matthew 16:18–20). Therefore, ‘lead me to the rock that is higher than I’ is a prayer that God will lead me to Jesus, to take refuge in his protective power. Indeed, when the psalm says, ‘I long to dwell in your tent for ever, and take refuge in the shelter of your wings’ (verse 4), it’s referring to the comfort and joy of intimate love in a healthy marriage!
So when our spouse, friend or child next says how weary or anxious they feel, let’s encourage them to go to ‘the rock’ who is Jesus, for safe refuge and protective love. Indeed, why not pray this psalm with them? Or we could pray this psalm on our own for ourselves.
As before, I have separated out the verses with a line of explanation for our prayers. May this psalm lead us to ‘the rock’ and there ‘take refuge’ under the shelter of his love.
Almighty God, our loving heavenly Father…
‘For the director of music. With stringed instruments. Of David.’
Thank you that as King David wrote this psalm for his musicians, our King Jesus has given it for our prayers.
‘1 Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer…’
Remembering what it cost Jesus to make this privilege of prayer possible, I humbly ask you to hear me.
‘2 From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint…’
However far from you and your blessing I feel, however weak and weary I am, please hear my prayers.
‘…lead me to the rock that is higher than I…’
Help me find and take refuge in Jesus, the foundation rock on which your church is built.
‘3 For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe…’
For you have always been my safe refuge and reassuring comfort in the struggles and conflicts of the past.
‘4 I long to dwell in your tent for ever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings…’
I long for the security and joy of living with you, enjoying the intimacy of your love in heaven.
‘5 For you, God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name…’
I speak with confidence knowing you have heard my commitment to you and have dignified me with the privileges of your people.
‘6 Increase the days of the king’s life, his years for many generations…’
May Jesus rule in glory for ever, over all the generations of his people.
‘7 May he be enthroned in God’s presence for ever; appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him…’
May Jesus be enthroned for ever in your power – eternally loved and protected by you.
‘8 Then I will ever sing in praise of your name and fulfil my vows day after day.’
Help me praise you with my life and my words, to your face in worship and to others in evangelism, for ever.
In Jesus’ name,