Bible Book: Psalm

Reflecting on God’s Word

According to Psalm 119, if we hide God’s Word in our hearts we will be enabled not to sin. Psalm 1 expands considerably on the rewards of meditating on God’s Word. Not only are those who do so happy, but also, “They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper” (Psalm 1:3). When we reflect on God’s Word, letting it fill our hearts and minds as it guides our lives, we will live fruitfully and resiliently.

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Reflecting on God’s Creation

Psalm 8 invites us to reflect on God’s creation of all things, including human beings. Compared to the grandeur of the universe, we are small and seemingly insignificant. But God has created us in God’s own image and entrusted to us the care of creation. The more we reflect on what God has created, the more we are led to exult, “O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

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A sign that says "Give thanks and eat pie" with a picture of pumpkin pie

Thanks Helps You Think!

Our gratitude is a fitting response to who God is – a God of steadfast love – and what God has done – wonderful works. Yet as we focus on God and express our thanks in prayer, we receive even more grace. Our brains are strengthened. Our thanks helps us think! 

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A sign on a gate that says "THINK AND THANK"

It’s Time for Thinksgiving

If you can make time on Thanksgiving Day for reflection and gratitude, that’s great. By all means do it. But if you’re anticipating a busy Thursday, let me suggest that you find another time this week for reflection. Think about your life and your blessings. Think about how God has been gracious to you, especially during this past year. Let your thinking lead you to thanking. By all means, thank God for the gifts you’ve received. But you may also want to thank people who have made a difference in your life. Nothing warms the heart on Thanksgiving Day more than expressions of gratitude. Yes, gratitude brings even more joy than steaming turkey! 

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Reflection, Confession, New Creation

The Psalms invite us into prayerful self-reflection. Sometimes they help us to see ourselves as “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). At other times, however, the Psalms reveal the less-savory parts of ourselves. They summon us to reflect upon our sinfulness. But that’s not the end result. Rather, such honest reflection leads to confession and then to new creation based on God’s steadfast love and mercy. 

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A row of lit votive candles in the dark at Cologne Cathedral

Self-Reflection and the Prayer of Examen

An article in Harvard Business Review recommends self-reflection for leaders who seek to excel in their work. What they recommend is curiously similar to the centuries-old Prayer of Examen, a Christian practice of daily, prayerful self-reflection. If you’d like to become more self-reflective, perhaps you’ll find the Prayer of Examen to be helpful.

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An Even More Amazing Kind of Reflection

The fact that human beings can engage in self-reflection is amazing. This is part of what makes us wonderful. But more amazing still is the fact that God knows everything about us. Nothing about us is hidden from God. This could be a terrifying thought were it not for the grace of God in Christ, which invites us into God’s presence and receives us with mercy.

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Children looking with wonder at a tank of sharks

Reflecting on the Wonder of You

According to Psalm 139, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Our minds and bodies are intricate and beautiful. This is true even though sin has warped the goodness of God‘s creation. When we reflect on the wonder of our creation, we don’t glorify ourselves. Rather, we glorify and adore the God who created us.

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Two bear cubs playing in the snow

Creation Made to Frolic

Even as God created a world in which work is good, God also wove play and delight into the fabric of creation. Surely play and delight is good for me also, and it even reflects something of the nature of the God whom we worship who fashioned all creation. We worship a God who delights in play, and who made a universe where work is balanced not only by rest, but by the need to frolic.

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Blossoms on a red maple tree

Considering the Lilies

All creation reveals the Creator and the Creator’s glory. When we read Jesus’ exhortation to “consider the lilies” or “look at the birds of the air”, before jumping to the particular interpretation of such consideration that he drew in his Sermon on the Mount, we would do well to take time to actually consider the lilies—and also the mountains, trees, rivers, and clouds as well as the wild creatures of the skies, the hills, and the oceans.

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Workday Prayers: Praise God with the Products of Your Work

Psalm 150, the last of the biblical Psalms, urges us to praise the Lord exuberantly. In part, we do this by using the products of our work. Psalm 150 mentions musical instruments, all of which are made by human hands. But, by analogy, we can also praise God through other kinds of work if we offer it to God as worship.

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Workday Prayers: A Prayer for Humility

Psalm 149 reminds us how much God values our humility. According to this psalm, the Lord “adorns the humble with victory.” Centuries later, Jesus put it this way, “All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted” (Matt 23:13). Thus, we are encouraged to be humble in all of life, including our work. In humility, we seek to build up others and glorify God, rather than promoting ourselves and being puffed up with pride.

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Workday Prayers: Praise the Lord Through Your Work

Psalm 148 calls upon all people – including rulers, young men, women, older people and younger people together – to praise the LORD. While we’re at work, we can pause for moments of prayer in which we praise God. But we can also let our work become praise as we do everything “for the praise of God’s glory” (Ephesians 1:12).

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Workday Prayers: What Delights the Heart of God

We are naturally drawn to admire accomplishment. We love watching the Olympics, for example, because we get to see the finest athletes in the world perform with excellence. Though God values our giftedness and fruitfulness, God delights most of all, not in what we do, but in knowing us, in receiving our reverence and our hope. We give God joy when our hearts are devoted to the God who is devoted to us.

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A shopping cart full of groceries

Workday Prayers: Sharing in the Good Work of God

Psalm 146 celebrates the work of God, noting many of the ways God is at work in the world. The God who does so many wonderful things is the same God who has created us as workers so that we might share in God’s work.

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