21 Days Of Prayer | Day 20 - West Ridge Church

Prayer Guide: Day 20

“O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.” Psalm 131  

What is anxiety? Technically, anxiety is the way our bodies respond to fear and worry—it’s the physical response to a mental state. As we’ve seen (and maybe experienced), it can drastically affect us and interfere with the quality of our lives. According to reports, around 50% of people feel anxious day-to-day; the younger the age, the higher the statistic. In Psalm 131, the writer closes with a “calmed and quieted soul” but how did he get there?

First, he destroyed the idols of his heart. Biblically, the “heart” is the operating center of our being. It is who we are and what we want most deeply. The Psalmist says that his heart isn’t lifted up. He isn’t desiring or pursuing things not meant for him. When our hearts are oriented around the stuff of this world rather than the person of Christ, they depend upon what can be lost and can’t uphold the weight of our souls. When our hearts are oriented around Christ—who He is and what He’s done—things remain in their proper state. We receive and enjoy things without worshiping them. They can be taken away or given away without crushing our souls and destabilizing our lives.

Second, he disciplined the thoughts of his mind. In Jewish culture, the eyes were always used to talk about the mind. The Psalmist says his eyes “are not raised too high,” but what does that mean? The next line explains: “I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.” He’s battling against that deeply ingrained part of us that wants to be God, that part of us that doesn’t trust Him to take care of us and therefore feels the need to worry and concern ourselves with things never meant for us.

It’s important to note that this Psalm is both a prayer to God and a declaration to himself. He is commanding his heart and mind while asking God for help at the same time. Our thoughts and emotions don’t tend to fall into place by accident. They must be led. Thankfully, God helps us with this. The writer closes by drawing a rare picture of God as a nurturing mother and himself as a baby content to rest in his mother’s arms. Is this baby concerned about the future—whether it will have enough or be enough? No. If you believe God is small and unable to provide for you or care for you, you can be tempted to place yourself on the throne and melt beneath the weight of it all. But God isn’t small. He doesn’t need your help being God. If you believe God isn’t concerned about you or involved with the details of your life, it’s easy to feel the need to grasp and try to secure things for ourselves anxiously. But He isn’t passively standing by; He is working because He cares.

If you need proof, look at the cross where the power of God to conquer sin, death, and hell and the care of God to love you, serve you, and make a way for you was on full display for you to be certain—once and for all—that God can be trusted to take care of you. You don’t have to lift your heart up; you can have a settled heart. You don’t have to raise your eyes too high; you can have a present mind. You don’t have to occupy yourself with things too great and marvelous for you; you can quiet your soul.

Personal Prayer Focus

As you pray today, examine your heart and response to God’s sovereignty, care, and provision in your life. Ask the Lord to reveal anything that’s become an idol, and pray that He will dismantle patterns of attempted self-sufficiency that keep you from trusting in and depending on him.

WRC Prayer Focus 

Our Pastor has often said, “For what’s at stake, do whatever it takes.” Years ago, we conducted a study showing that more than 85% of the 357,000 people in our community remain unchurched. We believe that every single one of those people deserves an opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel of Jesus. In response, we launched our vision fund—an initiative focused on doing whatever it takes. As you draw near to God in prayer, ask that He unite our entire church around the vision of seeing our neighbors become fully devoted followers of Jesus.

To learn more about the vision fund, visit www.westridge.com/visionfund