There was a house party held in an English manor. As was customary, the after-dinner entertainment featured recitations and songs from the guests. A famous actor was present, and when it came his turn to perform, he recited the Twenty-third Psalm. His rendition of the familiar psalm was magnificent and received with much applause.
Later in the evening, the hostess noticed her little old great-aunt dozing in the corner of the room. She was almost completely deaf and had missed most of the evening’s entertainment. Still, the other guests urged her to recite something. Since most people of that era knew many poems by memory, the hostess felt sure she would recite a poem.
To everyone’s surprise, she stood up, her voice quivering, and recited the Twenty-third Psalm! When she finished there were tears in most eyes, including those of the famous actor. One of the guests later approached the actor and said, “You recited that psalm absolutely superbly. It was incomparable. So why were we so moved by that funny, little old lady?” He replied, “I know the psalm. She knows the Shepherd.”
Prayer is our foremost way of getting better acquainted with God. I believe that the first purpose of prayer is to know God. He is the focus and He makes the difference.
When the psalmist writes about help for his current situation, he says in essence that we can look “high and low” and not find the help that will be adequate. Our help, our deliverance, is not in a place but in a Person.
Prayer brings us into the presence of God. It transports us to the One who can make a difference in our situation and in our soul. I choose to see prayer, not as a spiritual exercise but as a spiritual encounter with a living God! The difference is obvious and powerful: we may give lip service to an exercise but we cannot come into the presence of a Holy God and not be changed!
In our circumstances, the real focus is not in what we do, but to Whom we look. Our help and hope come from God himself. He is our way out, our way through and our way in. He is the answer to every question; the strength for every struggle and the hope for every tomorrow we face.
The psalmist had come to know that if God can make everything, he can bring me through anything and I should fear nothing. What a wonderful way to live…in the presence of God…in prayer