Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. Psalm 119:18
This morning as I sat down at my desk the song “Open My Eyes That I May See” came to mind. I briefly wondered what was in the mind of the songwriter and perhaps what influenced the writing of this song, but I didn’t get too far in searching that information out. I did catch the hymn title attached to a sermon message and so I went there and found some real treasure.
I noticed recently that as I was reading my way through 1 Chronicles I was often disengaged with God’s Word. I had lost a sense of reverence and trust in God to speak to me even in the words that seem unrelated to anything I might need. That was a first indication of trouble… man-centeredness… selfishness; “Lord, what could I possibly gain from all these names and relationships, etc…?” Granted, there are tough places in the Scriptures that I get tempted to rush through or gloss over, but if I really believe these are the very words of God… breathed out with Life from Him, then I don’t want to miss out on them, even if I don’t or can’t see or understand at that moment what they might reveal. So, I generally keep reading… word by word, name by name… trusting in God rather than myself. But here’s one thing I have too often forgotten to do, especially in those tough patches… PRAY!
This sermon I found today includes some helpful instruction for me and you as we read God’s word… especially all of you who are reading through the Bible in a year. The temptation is to get it done and sometimes at the cost of not hearing anything. Time crunches impact us and we try to squeeze everything in but I’m reminded this morning how to pray for the help that comes freely to us from God to read, see, hear, understand and love His word.
Seven Kinds of Prayer to Soak our Bible Reading
But since our text is Psalm 119:18, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law,” we should let this psalmist show us how he prays more generally about his reading of the Word of God. So let me close with a little tour of Psalm 119, and show you seven kinds of prayer with which you can soak your Bible reading this year.
We should pray . . .
1. That God would teach us his Word. Psalm 119:12b, “Teach me Your statutes.” (See also verses 33, 64b, 66, 68b, 135). True learning of God’s Word is only possible if God himself becomes the teacher in and through all other means of teaching. 2. That God would not hide his Word from us. Psalm 119:19b, “Do not hide Your commandments from me.” The Bible warns of the dreadful chastisement or judgment of the Word of God being taken from us (Amos 8:11). (See also verse 43).
3. That God would make us understand his Word. Psalm 119:27, “Make me understand the way of Your precepts” (verses 34, 73b, 144b, 169). Here we ask God to cause us to understand – to do whatever he needs to do to get us to understand his Word.
4. That God would incline our hearts to his Word. Psalm 119:36, “Incline my heart to Your testimonies and not to [dishonest] gain.” The great problem with us is not primarily our reason, but our will – we are disinclined by nature to read and meditate and memorize the Word. So we must pray for God to incline our wills.
5. That God would give us life to keep his Word. Psalm 119:88, “Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, so that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.” He is aware that we need life and energy to give ourselves to the Word and its obedience. So he asks God for this basic need. (See also verse 154b)
6. That God would establish our steps in his Word. Psalm 119:133, “Establish my footsteps in Your word.” We are dependent on the Lord not only for understanding and life, but for the performance of the Word. That it would be established in our lives. We cannot do this on our own.
7. That God would seek us when we go astray from his Word. Psalm 119:176, “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant.” It is remarkable that this godly man ends his psalm with a confession of sin and the need for God to come after him and bring him back. This too we must pray again and again.
There’s a whole lot more than just these seven kinds of prayer that you can enjoy from this message, so here’s the link. Go, read or listen or download for enjoyment on your commute to work. http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/1998/1024_Open_My_Eyes_That_I_May_See /