Week Twenty, Day Three
These descriptive names for God often appear in clusters in the psalms as well as in other portions of the Scripture. When you pray to God your Refuge, Shield, Fortress, Dwelling Place, and Strong Tower, you are invoking the God who has promised to watch over you and keep you safe.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God in whom I trust." (Psalm 91:1-2)
PRAYING THE NAME
But I will sing of your strength,
in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
my refuge in times of trouble.
O my Strength, I sing praise to you;
you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.
Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe. (Psalm 61:1-3)
Reflect On: Psalm 59:16-17 and Psalm 61:1-3
Praise God: Because he is a strong tower against all foes.
Offer Thanks: For his sustaining grace.
Confess: Any tendency to make God your last instead of your first resort when trouble heads your way.
Ask God: To open your eyes to his protective care, past and present.
Whenever my youngest has a nightmare, she clambers into my bed and then promptly falls asleep, leaving me clutching for covers and bracing myself while her pint-size body sprawls sideways, pushing me firmly to the bed's edge. If I complain, she trains her deep, brown eyes on mine and holds up little hands shaped like claws, as though to illustrate the monsters of her dreams. Then she exclaims, "But, Mom, I scared!"
I can remember crawling into bed as a child, imagining myself covered by an impregnable bubble, designed to keep me safe through the night. Except for the time my eldest brother, hiding beneath my bed, shot his hand out and grabbed my ankle as I climbed into bed, my imaginary bubble worked like a charm. The truth is, even grown-ups have fears, and often for good reason. Take David, for instance. The Bible presents Psalm 59 as the young man's cry for help when Saul was watching his house, waiting for a chance to kill him. No wonder David called God his "fortress," his "refuge in time of trouble." How else could he defend himself against the overwhelming power of a king intent on murder?
But David's God was no make-believe bubble, protecting him from imaginary fears. He was a fortress, or in modern terms, he was like a missile defense system that could not be breached. He deflected every weapon forged against David until Saul was finally defeated and David sat on Israel's throne. As Psalm 46:1 puts it, David found that God was "an ever-present help in trouble." Where do you find help when you are in trouble? How do you calm yourself when you are afraid? Do you bluff your way through? Do you run, hide, ignore, counterattack? Whatever your chosen style of dealing with fear, it will prove a flimsy defense if you do not learn that God wants to be your fortress, your first line of defense.\
Today, take some time to gather up your fears small and large, heaping them before the Lord in prayer. Here's a short list to get you started:
• financial loss
• public speaking
• for your children
• for your marriage
• social fears
Whatever your list, ask God to deliver you from them. Make it your steady habit to run to him as your fortress. Do this by memorizing Scriptures about his power, love, and faithfulness. Thank him for his past protection. Call to mind his promises in the Bible. Make this verse, taken from the ancient Irish hymn "Be Thou My Vision," your regular prayer:
Be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight,
Be thou my armor, and be thou my might,
Thou my soul's shelter, and thou my high tower,
Raise thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.
As you do these things, you will learn to rest in the powerful, encircling arms of the God who is far stronger than any method of self-defense you could ever devise.
For more from Ann Spangler, visit her blogspot on Christianity.com. Be sure to check out Ann's newest book, Praying the Attributes of God: A Daily Guide to Experiencing His Greatness.