“I love the Lord because he hears my requests for mercy.” Psalm 116:1
In New York, we used to take campers on canoe trips down the Upper Delaware River. These trips produced some of my favorite memories of camp. My first trip, though, remains forged in my memory because on that trip I nearly lost my life.
Few of my campers in that first group had ever been canoeing. Some could not swim. To help provide a safe experience, I placed the smallest, most terrified camper in my canoe. As we approached the first set of rapids, I knew we were going to have a problem. The difference in weight would make it difficult to navigate rough water. The first big wave knocked us sideways. As I attempted to right the canoe, we hit another wave. It capsized the boat and threw us into the water.
Immediately, the camper started panicking. When I approached him to calm him down, he grabbed my head. It dropped me into the water. The weight of even the smallest camper prevented me from coming to the surface for air. Fortunately, I was able to get my arm between his body and my face. Pushing him off, I got to surface where I could breath and settle him down. I came within seconds from drowning.
Something hit me this morning when I read Psalm 116. I cannot remember giving thanks to the Lord for being saved. One could argue, it was not the Lord but my training that saved me. Still, the Lord gives and sustains life and I did not give thanks for salvation. Then I remembered, at that time in our life, we spent every day in prayer. It doesn’t stick out in my memory because talking to God was part of our daily routine. Prayer was as common as doing dishes, leading activities and supervising children.
I often hear people say they don’t know what words to use when praying. Some express frustration over prayers not being answered. However, prayer is not always about an answer. Sometimes, it’s just about a conversation. Like talking to a friend, the Lord listens to whatever words you choose to use. It’s in this conversation with God, we discover the joy of being heard. Then we understand why the psalmist says, “I love the Lord because he listens to my requests for mercy.”
Click to read: Psalm 116: 1- 4
- What does it feel like to speak and not be heard?
- When have you found wisdom by talking through a problem? Did someone listen to you as you spoke?
- What types of outcomes to look for when praying?
- How often do you set time aside to pray?
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