C.S. Lewis described prayer as decorating a Christmas tree. The tree itself is made up of those prayers taught in the Bible (like the Lord’s Prayer). Our job is to to add our own worship and requests; like hanging ornaments on the branches.
Using this picture, the Psalms are 150 prayer trees. Psalm 46 is a tree I’ve been returning to time and time again… especially on Monday mornings!
Here’s some of my decorations. I’d love to hear yours..
Psalm 46: (italics mine)
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
LORD Jesus Christ, you are my refuge, even in the tumult of tantrums and toys. You are ever-present, seeing all that I’m struggling with and all that this world suffers. Not even the most cataclysmic upheaval catches you off guard. You are with me…
- when the printer breaks and the dinner burns
- when I’m alone with my fears in the middle of the night
- when I’m too tired to start and too scared to stop
- when I just want a hug from my mum
- when I can’t see a way forward for finances or family or faith
- when I start doom-scrolling social media and can’t stop
- when my brain feels like the enemy
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
Father, the house looks like a dump and the walls seem to be shrinking, but my true home is with you. And your true home is a spacious place, a calm place, a glad place.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Lord, I often feel like I’m falling, running from one thing to another, tripping and stumbling and trying to catch up. But your everlasting arms are beneath me. You are my Helper. From day break to day end, you give me strength.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
Gracious God, the world seems to have gone crazy. Nations are in uproar; kingdoms fall and our leaders sometimes make things worse. But you are in control. Nothing happens without your permission; and you can be trusted, whatever is going on.
7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Lord Almighty, it feels like everything has been shaken. But not you. Nothing happens without your permission. Nothing is beyond your knowledge or your authority. Thank you that you are powerful – and also loving. You care for us. You are with us. YOU are our fortress. Help me to know that I am safe in your care.
8 Come and see what the LORD has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
Lord I’m in awe of your works. They are so unlike ours. We make war, you make war on war. We bring destruction and you destroy destruction. We build weapons. You burn them. Please, bring your peace to this earth. And bring your peace to my warring heart.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
LORD Jesus, you are the great I AM. Still my heart in your presence. When I am overwhelmed, overwhelm me with yourself. When I feel dwarfed by circumstances and fears, show me your almighty reign. Be my peace. Be my fortress. Be with us all, now, today – and forever,