Speaking to the Soul – Sunday October 31

A short reading and prayers for today

I think of the good old days, long since ended, when my nights were filled with joyful songs. I search my soul and ponder the difference now. Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will he never again be kind to me?
Psalm 77:5-7 NLT

These are painful verses. Asaph, the psalmist, is in the pit of despair. He feels that God has rejected him completely. He looks back at how things used to be, but those memories are painful in themselves, because his present predicament is so hopeless. What is so precious about these words is that he is completely honest. There is no pretence. He tells God exactly the way he feels. There is something incredibly healthy about this because, as we all know, strong relationships can only grow where there is honesty. Asaph feels completely let down by God and he let him know it.

I fear that Christian worship can very easily be less than honest. When we sing of our complete confidence in God, does that always reflect the way we feel? It was the great Christian writer A W Tozer who wrote, ”Christians don’t tell lies – they just go to church and sing them.“ I’m not suggesting for a moment that that is always the case but there is a great danger in us singing hymns and songs unthinkingly. This isn’t a new problem of course. In Isaiah the Lord said to his people, ”These people say they are mine. They honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.“ (Isaiah 29.13)

The psalmist’s honesty led him to reflect more deeply on Israel’s history and as he did so he recognised just how great God was. He particularly focused on the amazing way in which God had led his people in the Exodus. I suspect that if he had continued to reflect on his own feelings and predicament, he might have continued to spiral downwards in his dark thoughts. But as he opened his mind to the way in which God had been at work in history, he came to a new place of confidence and faith.


When are you able to be completely honest with God?


Lord God we thank you for your perfect love for us and we pray that you will help us to become increasingly honest with you. Amen

O God, our refuge and strength,
who art the author of all godliness;
Be ready, we beseech thee, to hear
the devout prayers of thy Church;
and grant that those things which we ask faithfully
we may obtain effectually;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Almighty and eternal God,
you have kindled the flame of love in the hearts of the saints:
Grant to us the same faith and power of love,
that, as we rejoice in their triumphs,
we may be sustained by their example and fellowship;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.