Prayer Meeting: Be Still and Know that I Am God
Every Monday, each branch of L’Abri sets aside time to sing and pray together. From the beginning, prayer has been essential to the life and existence of L’Abri. We hope these reflections from our prayer meetings can serve to encourage your own life of prayer.
[Read Psalm 46 and Acts 17:24-28]
Psalm 46 offers us a series of juxtaposed images of security and insecurity, stability and upheaval. No matter how solid the kingdoms of the earth and even the ground beneath our feet may seem, even these sources of security are ultimately flimsy compared to the Lord Himself. When they give away (imagine an earth quake) the Lord remains solid. Near the end of Psalm 46 we are given a command: “Be still and know that I am God.”
At first glance ‘being still’ seems to be a passive thing. We simply need to stop the hustle and bustle of daily life and listen to God. However, when we actually try being still we discover that it requires real exertion. There are many obstacles to being still and heavy lifting is required.
We need to lay aside…..
….the mental lists of everything we want to accomplish after we are done being still. Even this small act requires significant trust in God. Sometimes it is helpful to write a list of what we need to do in order to truly lay it aside.
… the anxious thoughts that make their home in our minds. This is a tremendous challenge especially in the times of chaos and instability described in the psalm itself.
… our idols. Significantly, the psalmist does not say that we should “be still and reflect on who God is.” He says be still and know that God is God. This is more than a daily doctrine check. It is a deep knowledge in which we, with our whole being, assent to the one-and-only-ness of God. It is to allow our whole selves to be utterly convinced and then to exalt him. So, being still requires the painful work of extracting our trust from the false gods that crowd around us and promise us security. When it comes to our idols, being still is a form of combat.
… our request mindset. Often making requests is the primary way in which we relate to God in prayer. The immediate concerns and needs of daily life grow up like brush in the foreground of our vision blocking out the depth and beauty of the landscape. Our dependence on God is much more fundamental than our wish lists. Life in each moment is an intentional gift from Him. As The Apostle Paul says to the Athenians: “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
The command to be still is not a simple instruction for our quiet times. It is a description of a life-long effort to view reality for what it is. We can set out to do this with confidence in how the psalm ends:
“I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.