When We Gather To Pray…


For you, O Lord, are my hope,

     my trust, O Lord, from my youth.

Upon you I have leaned from before my birth;

     you are he who took me from my mother’s womb.

My praise is continually of you.

                                                 — Psalm 71:5-6

What is your earliest memory? My earliest memory, or at least I think it is (chronologically speaking), is when I put my faith in Jesus. I was four years old, and it was bath time. My dad was telling me about Jesus, and how he was God and died for my sins, and if I invited him into my heart I would be saved. And so I did. Now, whether that was the moment that I was born of the Spirit of God (John 3:3), I’m not completely sure. But it was a foundational moment in my life, one that I’ve remembered clearly for the last thirty-three years. And one I think about often.

And yet, what I’ve come to understand all these years later is that as significant as that moment was to my memory and history, the truth is that God has been holding my life in His hands since before my time in this world even began. My life isn’t bifurcated into “before God” and “after God”. The psalmist teaches, “I have leaned [on God] from before my birth”. Every moment of life has been a moment of dependence, whether I realized it or not. My life has truly been “always God”.

And so as we gather to pray, we should, like the psalmist, recalibrate our perspective by stepping back to see the bigger picture—to see our entire lives in the hands of our Savior.

As Christians in America in the 21st century, we often think that we are in control of our own lives, of our own destinies. And this thinking tends to permeate into our salvation stories. We ask questions like, when did you come to faith? When did you accept Jesus as your savior? When were you saved? But those are the wrong questions to ask because they put the time stamp of salvation at a moment of our choosing. But the truth is God put his stamp on us before we even took our first breath. We just didn’t realize it. It was God who held us in His hands since before we were born. It was God who took us from our mother’s womb. It was God who died on the cross for us. And it was God who baptized us with water and with Spirit.

So church, when we pray, let us pray with the big-picture perspective that God has had his hand on our lives since before we were born. And then being so led, let us join with the psalmist and praise God continually!

Our Father in Heaven, You are the God that formed us in the secret places. You have known us from the beginning, and we have been dependent on you for our very existence. We thank you and praise you without ceasing for your boundless grace to us in Jesus Christ our Lord. 

*** I want to invite you to join us for our Prayer Gathering this Sunday at 5pm. We are all learning how to pray. Let’s grow in our prayer lives together. ***