Tell me that it’s easy, To rise up each morning at the break of dawn To set your knees in that spot in the mat With the perfect grooves made from wear; A testament to the consistency with which they carry The weight of your desperation and dreams.
Tell me how you’ve gotten used to the familiar aches – The pain of the strain of holding a position That under different circumstances would be called corporal punishment; Hands clasped underneath chin, Elbows scraping the edge of the bed… But none of these compare to the aches That rampage in places the eye cannot see; None of these compare to the screams that no ear hears – None, except One.
There’s a song furnished in my heart this dawn; It is a song of pain and tragedy; It is a song of unfailing and faithful love; It is a song both marred and perfected In my lack of complete understanding and full appreciation. It is an old song, but seems new every morning; It carries the weight of hope and is full of promises and possibilities. It promises such great things and calls for me to be bold and courageous; It calls for me to step out in faith and complete trust.
It begins in the depths; Sounds like a struggle at first, then it breaks free… It is a little spring with the force of a mighty volcano; It is a sound with a single note, Communicating a singular message – Victory!
It begins at the sight of the finish line; With each additional step it soars in might, Bolstered on by the sound of the rushing winds Till it gloriously erupts at the breaking of the tape.
Have mercy on me, Father, according to Your loving kindness. According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions (they are so many that I lost count.) I am in need of a thorough washing from iniquity and a complete cleansing from my sin. Lord, I am confronted by the gravity of my misdeeds, and my sin continually stares me in the face. Against You, and You only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in Your sight. Your holiness demands a righteous judgement, and no one can reasonably claim my sentence unjust. I plead guilty to every charge You lay against me, Lord, but I plead that You remember that I was born in iniquity – conceived in sin. My most base nature is contrary to Your desire for truth in the inward parts. But You have taught me wisdom in the depths of my heart – the conviction of conscience that cannot be shaken.
Father, say the word, and I will be free of the heavy weight of guilt hanging over my head. Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow – free of the shame and filth that clothes me. Let Your love that shines forth within Your verdict bring joy and gladness to my soul, that the pain I suffer because of my punishment be overrun with rejoicing.
Father, You have searched me, and You know me – even better than I know myself. You know my sitting down and my rising up. You perceive my thoughts long before they are formed within me. You search out my path, even to where I lay my head to rest; there is no part of my life’s journey that is obscured from You. No word has reached my tongue that You didn’t already know about. You hem me in behind and before; and You have laid Your hand on me. You give me knowledge of things beyond me, lofty things that I cannot attain.
Is there a place that Your Spirit cannot reach? Is it possible for me to escape Your presence? If I were to ascend to heaven, that is Your throne and You would be there; but even if I were to make my bed in the depths of Sheol, I would not be beyond Your piercing gaze. If I take the wings of the dawn, and settle in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will hold me.
About 365 days since I last sat to write a “New Year’s Message,” And I can’t help but loosely echo the words of the Psalmist… In the 65th psalm, he says, “Praise waits for You, God, in Zion. Vows shall be performed to You. You who hear prayer, unto You shall all men come. Our sins did not overwhelm us, because You atoned for our transgressions. How blessed we are that You have chosen us and caused us to come near to You. How privileged we are to be able to live in Your courts. You have positioned us in Your secret place, And filled us with the goodness of Your treasuries. By awesome deeds of righteousness, You answered us and brought us salvation. You have shown Yourself to be the hope of all the earth, of those far and near. By Your power and strength You have brought great things into being, Stilled the roaring of the seas, its waves, and the turmoil of nations. Even those in the farthest reaches of the earth Have come to know and fear Your wonders. You have set songs of joy into our dawns and dusks. You have blessed the works of our hands and brought us increase; Indeed, You crown our year with Your bounty, And cause our storehouses to overflow with abundance. Everything in sight declares Your praise with joy.”
Lord, there’s a thirst in me that can only be quenched by You; My soul yearns for You, like the deer pants for the water-brooks. Every minute I spend away from You is a minute too long for comfort; When will I find myself before You, my King? As I wait night after night and day after day, I’m compelled to feast on my tears shed from excessive longing.
My soul cries out from within me Every time I lack awareness of Your presence – Whenever I find myself asking where You are, Lord. Because I remember, in times past (that seem so long ago) How I used to go with the saints, and led them into Your presence With such joy, and with praise on my lips, keeping my date with You.
I lift up my eyes to the heavens. Where does my help from? My help comes from You, Lord, Maker of heaven and earth. I know you will not allow my foot to be moved. I trust my entire being in Your care, because You watch over me tenderly, and You neither slumber nor sleep.
Lord, You are my Keeper, closely guarding and sheltering me. Because of You, neither the sun or moon, nor any force of the day or night can harm me. You are the secure fortress that keeps my fragile soul, and You preserve me wholly when I step out and when I come in. Lord, thank You, and please continue to be my Ever-present Help, now and forever more. Amen.
Faithful and benevolent Father, listen to my prayer this day, that I may be filled with the knowledge of Your will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Cause me to walk worthily of You, Lord, pleasing You in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing steadily in my knowledge of You. My Lord and God, strengthen me with all power, according to the might of Your glory, that I may be able to endure and persevere with joy and thanksgiving. Grant me comfort in the knowledge, that it is You, Father, who has made me fit to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light, delivered me out of the power of darkness, and translated me into the Kingdom of the Son of Your love, in whom I have my redemption, the forgiveness of all my sins.
“I bow my knees to You in reverence, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is from You that every family in heaven and on earth is named. I pray that You will grant me according to the immeasurable riches of Your glory, sustaining strength and prevailing power through Your Holy Spirit in the inner person. Let Christ dwell permanently in my heart through faith, to the end that being rooted and grounded in love, I may be strengthened to comprehend with all the saints, the width, length, height and depth of Christ’s love which surpasses knowledge. Let me be filled with all Your fullness, Lord God Almighty. Amen.”