|Beautiful graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings|
I'm sure you all remember that I'm finishing up a One Chapter a Day study of Psalms 101-150 from Good Morning Girls.
Although I love working on more in-depth Bible studies, these
simpler ones are also a blessing to do, and I think they are working out quite well for my Sunday Scripture posts.
As I've noted before, I like to use the SOAP method of Bible study, and the journal from GMG uses a very similar method. I find this method a real blessing especially when I am studying shorter passages, and I hope others will give it a try if you haven't ever done so. Just a reminder that the S is for Scripture -- just write it out -- and the O is for Observation, the A is for Application and the P is for prayer -- concerning how you'll apply this verse or praise for what it means to you.
This study also includes a reflection question for
each passage. Sometime I answer this in my study, and sometimes not.
Whenever I do answer it (and this week I did), I'll do so right after the SOAP part.
Today's study is from Psalm 141. The verse to zero in on was verse 3, but as usual I chose to look at more than one verse. For today I looked at verses 2 and 3.
S= "Let my prayer be set forth before Thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
"Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips." (Psalm 141:2-3)
I also liked verse 8: "But mine eyes are unto Thee, O GOD the Lord: in Thee is my trust."
O= This is another psalm of David. C.I. Scofield has titled it "A prayer for godliness and for deliverance from sinners."
In verse 1, David asked God to hear him speedily. He wanted his prayer to rise before God as a sweet aroma. He asked that God would 1) guard his speech; 2)not let his heart incline to evil or wickedness; 3) allow him to benefit from the reproof of the righteous. He also asked God to protect him and cause his enemies to fall into their own traps.
Here's a cross-reference for "as incense" in verse 2a:
"And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it
Verse 2b, with its reference to "the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice", reminds me of Hebrews 13:15 -- "By Him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name."
Cross-references for "lifting up of my hands" in verse 2b:
"Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and bless the LORD." (Psalm 134:2)
"I will, therefore, that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting." (1 Timothy 2:8)
Cross-reference for "mouth" in v. 3:
"Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue, keepeth his soul from troubles." (Proverbs 21:23)
A= David's prayer is an appropriate one for me or for any believer. I know that God will hear my prayer, and I want my praise to be a sweet aroma to Him. Asking God to set a guard over my mouth, and to keep the door of my lips, is a wonderful way to pray.
In another psalm (17:3) David says, "I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress." I need to have a similar purpose and prayer.
Believer's Bible Commentary notes, "He asks for a guard to be stationed at his mouth to prevent the escape of any wrong word, to keep the door of his lips from speech that would not be honoring to the Lord."
Some quotes from Spurgeon's Treasury of David also help with our application of this passage:
"Nature having made my lips to be a door to my words, let grace keep that door, that no word may ... go out that may in any way tend to the dishonor of God, or the hurt of others." -- Matthew Henry
"As incense is carefully prepared, kindled with holy fire, and devoutly presented unto God, so let my prayer be. We are not to look upon prayer as easy work requiring no thought, it needs to be set forth before the Lord 'as incense' concerning the offering of which there were rules to be observed, otherwise it would be rejected of God."
This makes me think of how we want to be sure that our hearts are free from any known sin before we approach God in prayer. Although there is always a time for those quick "arrow prayers" that we send up in time of need, our everyday prayer life should have some structure to it and a sense of reverence as we enter God's throne room. A prayer journal is what helps me keep my prayer life careful and reverent.
P= "Lord, I pray that You will help my own prayer life to be one that is pleasing to you and filled with praise -- a sweet aroma to You. Help me to have a prepared, set time for prayer. Although I know You hear "arrow prayers" like Nehemiah's, I also know that You don't want my prayer life to be haphazard and ineffective.
"And Lord, I pray like David that You would set a guard over my mouth, that You would keep the door of my lips. Help me with my tendency to speak before thinking. I thank You for all You'll do, in Jesus' name, Amen."
The reflection question this time asks, "In what ways do you struggle to control your words?"
My answer: My biggest struggle with my words is speaking before thinking. This is something I pray about on a regular basis. I ask God to help me to stop and think and weigh my words, and sometimes even take time to pray, before I answer.
I hope this Sunday Scripture was a blessing to someone today!