We are preparing for a great event at First Baptist Church of Columbia. Our annual Prayer Conference is going to take place on January 26 & 27. It is always an exciting time as we learn how to pray more effectively and spend time praying together. Beth Greer will be leading us in worship, myself and Katie Whitaker, from the South Carolina Baptist Convention, will be teaching on prayer. I was reading Psalm 4 in my study on prayer. Psalm 4 is a Psalm of David as he is running from his son, Absalom, who is trying to take over the kingdom.
David is going through a difficult time, but he is not in panic mode. He is praying and resting in the Lord, his God. Adrian Rogers, the great preacher, said, “There is no panic in heaven, only plans.” In Psalm 127:2 it says, “It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, To eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.” God gives and cares for us even in our sleep. Psalm 4 has been called an evening Psalm. It is wonderful to pray at night before bedtime or during times of stress and danger. How do we go from panic to prayer in our lives? The psalmist declares 3 wonderful truths.
· Remember: God answers the prayers of the hurting. In Psalm 4:1 we see David crying out in distress. He is running for his life and in distress. The Hebrew word for distress means, “In a tight corner.” Have you ever felt backed up into a corner? David was hurting so much that he described it as being cornered. God answered his prayer and gave him relief. David experienced the mercy and grace of God. Are you hurting today? Whatever the hurt is God has the remedy for it.
· Remember: God honors the pure in heart. In Psalm 4:3 it states that the godly man has been set apart. God sets apart His godly ones for special blessings. The old spiritual says, “His eye is on the sparrow and He watches over me.” When you and I strive to be pure in heart we have confidence in prayer. Holiness in life will drive us to the throne of God. In the beatitudes Jesus said in Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” You can go from panic in your life to prayer when you live in purity and strive righteously.
· Remember: God prospers the hopeful. We find the hope of David in Psalm 4:8, “In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For you alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.” I remember as a child learning the words to the hymn, “The Solid Rock.” The first verse says, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name. On Christ the solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.” Our hope is in the Lord, He is the rock on which we stand. David confessed that God would make him to dwell in safety. The Apostle Paul in Romans 8:31 writes, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us who is against us?” David’s hope, Paul’s hope my hope is in the Lord. We go from panic to prayer when we have that kind of hope.
What are you stressed out about today? What causes panic in your life? You can go from panic to prayer just like David did. I look forward to seeing you at our Prayer Conference at First Baptist Church on January 26 and 27. We will begin that Friday evening at 6:15 pm in Ellis Hall with refreshments and worship.
Rev. Richard Humphries
Pastoral Care & Sr. Adult Minister