Psalm 40:1-5

At the heart of a life of prayer is the settled sense that God is for us.
This conviction persists even when we’re more aware of God’s silence
than of God’s reassurance. Despite trouble and the reality of evil and
injustice, we keep praying honestly and persistently.

For the psalmist, prayer involves waiting patiently to sense God’s
presence and guidance. Prayer waits in eager expectation, not endless
endurance. Waiting becomes creative time when we remember past
mercies and discern our true longings.

As a result of this waiting, the psalmist receives a gift of grace and
declares that God “put a new song in my mouth” (v. 3). This melody
of mercy becomes one of those tunes that keeps repeating itself in
your mind. The psalmist’s faithful stewardship of this new song
leads many to respond with awe, wonder, and praise. The power of a
new song is remarkable.

From childhood until now, as I come closer to completing my
ninth decade, I’ve been immersed in the music of the faith. Simple
songs learned as my mother rocked me to sleep. Songs testifying
to God’s surprising grace. Hymns expressing the heart of our faith.
Great anthems of choirs and orchestras form the repertoire of my
soul. They emerge, sometimes without my knowing why, sometimes
when the needs of my life call them forth. They are gifts of grace that
remind me of God’s faithfulness, even in difficulty. God is for us.

Prayer cultivates our awareness of such gifts. In What’s in a Phrase? Marilyn McEntyre writes, “Even in the ordinary tasks of ordinary life, we may be surprised by gifts of grace if receptivity becomes a habit. A hundred times a day small surprises await those who notice.”


The psalmist receives a new song. What forms of such grace gifts have you received? How are you using them?


Creator, forgive me when I live on life’s surface and don’t see you in the many things I take for granted. Restore to me a sense of wonder. Amen.

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