May 13, 2021 • Life for Leaders
Scripture – Psalm 62:8 (NRSV)
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah
At different times in my life, I heard teaching on prayer that went something like this: “If you really have faith in God, then you only need to pray once for something. Pray just once with confidence. Praying more than once is evidence of a lack of faith.” I should hasten to add that I never heard this from any of my pastors. But I did hear it on the radio or on Christian TV.
From a certain perspective, this teaching makes sense. I get it. But the big problem with this teaching is its inconsistency with Scripture. The “pray only once” doctrine doesn’t show up in the Bible. Instead, we find things like Psalm 62:8: “Trust in [God] at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him.” Pouring out your heart is quite different from praying once with full assurance. Pouring out your heart is more like imploring God to help, again and again, and again.
What I find fascinating in Psalm 62:8 – and extremely encouraging – is that trusting in God is expressed, not through one-time praying, but rather through repeated pouring. Because we trust God, because we have confidence in God’s grace and mercy, we can come before God’s throne of grace with boldness, free to say whatever is in our hearts (see Hebrews 4:16).
Because we have put our trust in God who is merciful, gracious, and patient, we are free to pour out our heart to God. When we need God’s help, we don’t have to compose perfect prayers. We don’t have to hide our true feelings. Rather, Scripture encourages us to “pour out our heart” to the God who is a refuge for us. Such good news!
Gracious God, thank you for making yourself known to me. Thank you for helping me to trust you, even in hard times. Thank you for being a refuge to me, a place of safety and rest.
O God, because I trust you as a God of grace and mercy, I am free to be who I really am with you. I don’t have to pretend that I’m better than I am, more faithful and trusting. I don’t have to compose perfect prayers, getting every theological point exactly right. Rather, I am free to pour out my heart before you, to let you know everything I’m thinking and feeling. You invite me to share every longing, every loss, every hope, every fear.
When I’m going through challenging times at work, help me to pour out my heart to you. Remind me of the freedom you give me in Christ. Invite me by your Spirit to speak openly, even boldly.
As I open my heart to you, yes, I want you to answer my prayers. But with an open heart, I’m also ready, Lord, to know you more deeply and truly, to experience your love more completely. As I pour out my heart to you, I ask you to pour yet more of your love into me. Amen.
Ponder Throughout the Day
Because you trust God, you can pour out your heart to him at any time.
For Further Reflection
Let me encourage you to read all of Psalm 62.
You may also wish to read and reflect on Hebrews 4:14-16.
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Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Commentary on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Anxiety When Unscrupulous People Succeed (Psalms 49, 50, 52, 62)
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.