‘Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases’ (Psalm 103:1-3 NIVUK)
It can be a struggle sometimes to find the energy to pray especially when we’ve been on lockdown and out of our normal routines for some time and we can’t even remember what day of the week it is. What can we do if we are finding apathy in our relationship with God and in particular in our prayer life? I’m not a great expert in prayer, in fact, more often than not I struggle with praying, and when I struggle, I often turn to the opening verses of Psalm 103 for help.
Right at the outset of this psalm, we are confronted with the question, ‘who is David speaking to?’ Some psalms address God directly, some address the nation and how they should respond to God, but here David says, ‘Praise the Lord, my soul.’ David is speaking to himself, exhorting himself to worship and praise God. Why does he need to tell his soul what to do? Is it because he just doesn’t feel like it? Most people think that talking to yourself is the first sign of madness, but according to this psalm, it could just be the first sign of spiritual sanity. Sometimes we need to give ourselves a good talking to in order to motivate ourselves to keep going.
David’s key for this kind of motivation is to remember, to forget not all the Lord’s benefits. Reminding ourselves of what we have in Christ through God’s great generosity, counting the blessings he has given us, will help us to want to pray to God in order to praise him in our soul.
Who is it that forgives all our sins and heals all our diseases? Well, that would be God. These are the blessings God gives us. In his gracious merciful love, he forgives our wrongdoings, and that is something we can praise God for. In his benevolent generosity, he heals our diseases. It doesn’t mean that everyone always gets healed but every time we have recovered that has been the grace of God and is something we can thank him for.
Because of COVID-19, I am more aware of the fragility of my health, and the health of others, and this has motivated me in my prayer life: to give thanks for the health we have, to rejoice when those who are sick recover and even when loved ones have died to praise God for their lives knowing that in Christ their sins are forgiven.
Remembering these things helps me to pray when I don’t feel like it, and I hope they motivate you too.
Father, may your Holy Spirit continually remind me of all your benefits in Christ Jesus, and urge me to praise you in prayer for who you are.
Have a good week remembering and praying.