Getting out of ruts
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV
For some reason it is easy to fall into ruts. In prayer and worship we can easily devolve into self-absorption. Our prayers and expectations center around survival. But getting out of the ruts– or “experiencing real life” — comes when we encounter His mercies afresh!
Just a few days ago I was reading Thomas Merton’s journal entitled “the Sign of Jonas.” He talks about an order of monks who pray the Psalter (all 150 Psalms) twice a day out loud… Seriously??
All I could imagine was how long would that take (3 hours?) and how hard it would be to get something out of it (revealing my typical Western mindset of evaluating the cost and benefit to me).
What then hit me was how much the Psalms (i.e., God’s Word) would actually get INTO a person who read that much.
- You would get familiar with His purposes in creation and life circumstances
- You would begin to see your own weakness and vulnerability
- You would taste of His goodness
- You would be filled with hope in all dire situations
- You would see His greatness revealed
- You would learn to turn everything into worship
I try to read and reflect on one Psalm a day. The thought of reading all 150 twice a day is pretty intimidating, and can be paralyzing. “What a wimp…”
But then I thought “God is revealing His mercies anew to me every day.” He hasn’t called me to be a monk (whew), but He is inviting me into a deeper experience of those mercies.
My reading of one Psalm a day is more exciting as I seek to encounter Him. It gives me a hunger for more. And that experience will actually reframe how effective I am in the world. Hmmmmm, out of the ruts we go…