Daily Meditations by Sam MacDonald on the Songs of Ascents using extracts from the notes on biblical themes by the late Selwyn Hughes, in his booklet, Every Day with Jesus. Prayer Points have been prepared by Ann MacDonald.
During this period of study and meditation we are going to continue looking at that part of the book of psalms known as the Songs of Ascents. As we have already dealt with psalm 120 to 127, we will conclude with the remaining section of these psalms from 128 to 134.
Sunday 1st March.
Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways. Psalm 128: 1
The psalmist makes it clear in this psalm that people who are blessed by God find real contentment, for God has provided them with guidance and satisfaction in all aspects of their lives as they continue to obey His laws and follow His advice. We are told that we must honour and fear the Lord, but that doesn’t mean that we are to be scared of Him. Remember, He is the one who created the whole earth and all that it contains. He rules over all that moves, so why should we not offer prayers of thanks to Him for His wondrous gifts to men. Let us ever remember that ‘Blessings abound where ‘ere He reigns.’
Give thanks for the excellent facilities for care provided at the Highland Hospice and by MacMillan nurses enabling those with life threatening or terminal illness to face their journey under difficult conditions with dignity and as free from pain as possible. Pray for EMMS who are currently supporting 14 hospitals providing palliative care, mostly in India but also in Africa. Pray for the work as it extends to provide palliative care at home for patients which would reduce their travel costs by about 80%.
Monday 2nd March.
You will eat the fruit of your labour; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Psalm 128: 2
This verse stresses that it is important we follow the instructions that God has ordained, and we are to walk in accordance with His ways. He promises that those who do this will see that their homes will prosper, their families will be a joy to them, and they will desire to help others who are in need. There is a true saying which is seldom heard nowadays, ’It is more blessed to give, than to receive’, for as we see the happy reaction and joy on the faces of those to whom we have given, our hearts should rise with equal joy. We give thanks for such guidance from our God.
Give thanks that God provided a way for us to come back to Him by sending His son Jesus to earth, knowing that He would beat the fear of the grave and the power of sin and because Jesus was obedient to God in going to the cross at Calvary, all our sins are forgiven and when Satan tempts us to despair we can look to Jesus knowing His power is greater than evil. Pray for those who cannot accept the simple faith that Jesus requires, and that intellectual, cultural and political barriers might be swept aside to allow us all to believe, just like a little child.
Tuesday 3rd March.
May the Lord bless you from Zion all the days of your life. Psalm 128: 5
We seek to become contented people as we rejoice to worship our God who is from everlasting to everlasting, and who showers us with blessing. In this modern world, we are so busy trying to keep up with those around us, that time spent in the worship of our Lord and Redeemer is deemed wasteful by most folk, but let us be assured that He who created the world, rejoices to receive our worship and will give us the contentment that we seek. As this psalm comes to an end, we hear that our God will bless His people into old age and will prosper them wherever they live and bring them peace. Since family life should form the basis of society, it is so sad to see that in our lives today, we are being discouraged from the strong ties of marriage. We pray that God will forgive us and bring the day closer when these evils will be done away with.
Give thanks today for those who taught us the stories of Jesus as we sat as children on their knees. For mothers and fathers, and grandparents who read bible stories to us before we slept, who taught us how to pray and whose voices we can hear in our minds singing hymns and psalms to us, music and words that directed their lives. We give thanks for our memories of them and rejoice that for some of them the fight has been won and they rejoice now in the presence of One who loved them from the first of time until the last. Pray today for any who feel lost in the rush and bustle of daily life that there might be a moment for calm to settle in their hearts and minds.
Wednesday 4th March.
They have greatly oppressed me from my youth, but they have not gained the victory over me. Psalm 129: 2
This psalm emphasises that God’s people are not immune from trouble, but we must persevere against the evil ways of those who do not know God and come to realise that it is the work of our enemy, Satan. The Psalmist tells how when cruel people attacked the nation of Israel, and found that were not able to totally destroy the Israelites, they came to realise that God was in ultimate control of all that was happening to them. Even when the Israelites were made to labour as slaves, or burdened with excessive taxes to keep them poor, God was always protecting his people, although sometimes He allowed their suffering because they had not obeyed His ways.
Give thanks for the Ministries of the Word at One services and for the work carried out in the past at Raigmore Estate both in Holiday Clubs and weekly Sunday services, that seeds planted, would in God’s time come to fruition. Give thanks for the Church website and Facebook page messages and pray that they might encourage someone every new day. Pray for new opportunities to tell people about Jesus and His undying love for them.
Thursday 5th March.
But the Lord is righteous, he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked. Psalm 129: 4
Now we are asked to consider what is meant when we read that God is righteous, and we come to the conclusion that it means he is always fair and just in all that He allows to happen, so no matter what trouble comes our way, we can be sure that our gracious God will rule justly and the outcome will eventually be established to our good. So, we give thanks to our faithful God for His faithfulness towards us, as we travel along the road which He has chosen for each one of us to follow. We should remember that God is working His purpose out, even using the devil’s schemes to make sure we know what is evil when we meet it.
Give thanks for those who work tirelessly in NHS Highland to provide all aspects of healthcare to patients in our region. Pray that resources would be available to allow treatment and operations to go ahead in a timely fashion and that staff and patients would be able to have treatment and perform their duties without fear of bullying and intimidation. Pray that all would develop an eagerness to read and study God’s Holy Word.
Friday 6th March.
May they be like grass grown on the roof, which withers before it can grow. Psalm 129: 6
These verses bring to mind the parable of the sower, for the seed which fell where the soil was shallow, sprung up quickly but then withered because it had no depth to lay down roots. In this psalm, those who oppose God’s word are like the seed which fell on shallow soil, or on the soil which formed the construction of the roofs of their houses, so the psalmist prayed that like the withered grass, they would know little prosperity. How that prayer should be entreated in these days when evil is abroad all over this wicked world. Come among us, dear Lord and may a time of revival spread over our land.
Today let us give thanks for friends who have laughed with us in good times, and cried tears of hurt and pain along with us. We give special thanks for Jesus, the Friend who sticks closer than anyone and knows every joy and sorrow we will ever experience. Pray that as a Church family we will be open to recognizing when someone needs a hug or a listening ear. Pray for the pastoral team, that they would be upheld in their work and kept informed of people in hospital so that they may be able to offer support.
Saturday 7th March.
May those who pass by not say, the Blessing of the Lord be with you. Psalm 129: 8
In those closing verses of psalm 129, we are told that when those who are against the teachings of our Lord, are gathering a good harvest or doing well in business, we must not greet them with words of blessing from God. They have shown by their actions that they are enemies of God, so it would not be right for us to wish them any kind of blessing, which might indicate in any way that it was from our Lord. God has proved that Satan has been defeated by Christ on the cross, thus unbelievers have no hope of Redemption. God’s harvest is for those who love Him and seek to serve Him in every way.
Give thanks for Tearfund and particularly its ‘Twin Toilet’ project which aims to fund basic toilet facilities and clean water in poorer countries. £60 twins your facilities with the new toilet in foreign lands, giving you GPS coordinates to locate it on Google maps -go on, think of the talking point of having details of your twin toilet in your smallest room! Pray for those working to bring these ideas to completion so that everyone would have safe sanitation and childhood mortality due to waterborne diseases would decrease.
Sunday 8th March.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. Psalm 130: 1
As we read the opening verse of this psalm, it is clear that the psalmist is in great distress, but there is no hint what has caused his anguish. His troubles are so stressful that he felt like he was in a dark deep hole. Now this might be a reference to the old punishment given to wrongdoers in ancient times, when a prisoner would be placed in a deep well which was nearly dry, if the well dried up he would die of thirst, and if it rained, he would drown. Can you imagine how eagerly he would pray for someone to come to his rescue. Well, that is the depth of anguish with which the psalm opens.
Give thanks for all who proclaim the whole of God’s Word and truth in pulpits around the world and pray that they would have the courage to remain steadfast. Pray too for liberal preachers that they might be enlightened and return to teaching people the truth we all need to hear. Pray that those who hold office in Church of Scotland Headquarters would be men and women who will stand up as Christian examples and not bow to the will of the world.
Monday 9th March.
If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? Psalm 130: 3
We have been given the answer to the question raised in this verse, for in the very next lines as read ‘With you there is forgiveness.’ Isn’t it wonderful to know that God has provided the only way that our sins can be forgiven, even forgotten forever, by the atoning sacrifice of His Son Jesus on the Cross. What have we to pay for this redemption? – nothing – for ‘Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe’ – what a great assurance. May we never take this transaction, to mean that God will forgive everyone’s sin, for we must believe in God and all His wonderful works of redemption, to be worthy of that privilege.
Give thanks for all who perform door duties every Sunday and those who act as Church officer and ushers for funeral and other services. Pray that all would feel welcome as they come to Worship. Pray for those who come regularly to join in Worship but who might not feel that they can make a firm commitment to the East as their Church, help us to reach out in friendship to them, even when it feels difficult to do so.
Tuesday 10th March.
My soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen wait for the morning. Psalm 130: 6
In ancient times, every city had watchmen who helped to keep the citizens safe throughout the night. They kept awake and so people could rest in the knowledge that others were watching over them. The watchmen were sure that the dawn would come, so they guarded with a sure hope. Evil was all around during the night so like the city guards, we must stay alert to ensure that we don’t get caught by Satan’s plans to steer us away from God. We wait with anticipation for the coming of Gods’ Kingdom, for He has promised to come again to establish His rule in the New Jerusalem, when sin shall be no more and sorrow will be ended.
Give thanks that we have the hope and assurance that Christ is coming back, this time not as the Babe in Bethlehem but in all His glory to bring this age to an end. Pray that we will be ready at all times, just like the Bible story of the wise virgins waiting for the bridegroom. Pray for refugees across this war-torn world that they would find safety as they flee the terrors of their homelands. Pray for organisations like Care International who try to provide emergency aid for displaced people. It is estimated that 1 in every 109 people in the world today are refugees.
Wednesday 11th March.
O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love. Psalm 130: 7
In these final verses of this psalm we come to know God as the one who, because of our faith in His word, will forgive us when we call on Him in earnest prayer. Now it is clear that this reliance on God hearing our prayers, has come from our acceptance of His constant love and His promise of full redemption. We know that those who believe that God is the only one who can redeem us from our sins, and that He has made this great redemption available to those who have declared their belief that Jesus carried out the work of Salvation on Calvary’s cross. May we now be able to say that our hope is in the Lord, just as the pilgrims in olden times relied on this same Lord.
Give thanks for the Nazareth Trust which has served in Jesus’s hometown since 1861. The hospital engages with over 300,000 patients, families, students, volunteers, and pilgrims every year and aims to treat and reach out to the local population irrespective of faith, political stance or tradition. Pray for all those who serve in this brilliant facility and for those who raise funds for it by taking part in treks and bike rides.
Thursday 12th March.
My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty. Psalm 131: 1
In the study of this psalm, we are asked to consider that God does not take kindly to those people who look down on others, treating them as inferior and of no importance. This is totally different from what God insists is the way we should treat our fellow neighbours. Consider the words of Jesus when He spoke of the 2 men who went up to the temple to pray, one extolled himself and compared his lifestyle to the second man who was a tax collector, and who would not even look up to heaven but pleaded for mercy for himself as a needy sinner. Let us learn to be humble, and may we be like the tax collector in his attitude when he went to pray.
Give thanks for those who have served faithfully in our congregation over many years but now find themselves unable to perform the tasks and duties they were once able to do. Help us to remember those who cannot join in worship and be mindful to visit them and uphold them in our daily prayers. Pray that what is broadcast on TV and radio would not shake our faith and pray that those who govern broadcasting organisations would do so with moral integrity.
Friday 13th March.
I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. Psalm 131: 1
Now let us think how worried we can get, when we are met with problems for which we cannot provide an answer. The remedy is clear, take it to the Lord in prayer and leave it there, for we must trust in Him and not make our own decisions. We do not know the exact way the Lord has chosen for each one of us, His way we cannot see. Always keep in mind that God who rules the world, has led His people since He created the universe, and He will steadfastly lead us through life on the narrow way, and will be our guide if we trust in Him. If we say how clever man has been to develop all manner of new products, just remember that it was God who gave them the wisdom to do so.
Give thanks that we have a God who is ever directly available to us and that we can tell him all our joys and troubles, knowing that He understands. Our prayers do not need to be in a certain format, God want us to talk to Him like a Father. How amazing that the God of all creation is interested in simple beings like us, lets rejoice in that today and every day. Pray for those who today are sad, those who are depressed and see no way forward, that they would see the light of God’s love shining into their darkness.
Saturday 14th March.
But I have stilled and quietened my soul; like a weaned child with its mother. Psalm 131: 2
Now in this verse, we are told that instead of fretting, as we bring our concerns to the Lord on this vexing question of dealing with pride, we must ensure that we come before our God in a spirit of stillness and humility, so that we will not be upset in our minds, by things which are beyond our ability to understand. We will then have that calmness which is spoken of in this reading, and our approach can be like that of a child, who has been denied its feeding of milk from its mother, will soon realise that feeling of love returning after the time of weaning is over. Let us rejoice to sing, ‘Be still and know that I am God’ for that is how God wants to make sure we don’t fret when we call upon Him.
Give thanks for churches who see their congregations growing both in the UK and worldwide. We long for days of revival in Scotland so that as in the past, churches would be full of people longing to hear the world of God. Pray that the remnant of God’s people here would remain true and steadfast to Scripture and that we would be forward thinking as we consider ways to engage with a society which has largely rejected God.
Sunday 15th March.
O Israel put your hope in the Lord, both now and forevermore. Psalm 131: 3
As we come to the end of this psalm, we are assured when we come to the Lord with a spirit like that of a contented child, who is comforted to know that its mother is near to supply all it needs, not perhaps all it wants, but is comforted by the feeling that all is well. We pray that God will help us to concentrate on matters which the Lord wants us to be involved in, and then to be equally content to leave other matters to God, who will deal with them in His own way and in accordance with His plans. We must trust in God for we will learn from Him, and while others base their hope on wealth, skill or position, we put our hope on God who will defend and provide for us.
Give thanks for the work of the Scottish Bible Society (SBS) and their vision to see individuals, communities and cultures transformed as people encounter God (Father Son and Holy Spirit) in the Bible. Pray for their Healing Hurting Hearts trauma programme which is a Scripture based course intended to help local churches to provide a compassionate response to heartbroken and traumatised people in their communities. 1 in 7 people worldwide suffer mentally in the aftermath of human tragedy so true Bible based healing is vital.
Monday 16th March.
O Lord remember David and all the hardships he endured. Psalm 132: 1
This psalm says that we should remember King David and the troubles he endured, in trying to save Israel from the nations which surrounded them, and to show the people of Israel that God was there to support them, since He had proclaimed that they were His covenant people. As well as fighting these battles, David was concerned that the Ark of the Covenant should have a permanent place to rest, and in that respect, he did not waver from his efforts and was ultimately successful in doing so. This psalm was said to have been sung to mark David’s work in bringing the Ark from Kiriath Jearim to Jerusalem for its final resting place in the temple, when it was built by Solomon, David’s son.
Give thanks that we can trust that God is working all things for His good purposes as Romans 8:28 tells us. We don’t have to understand how things will work out, or when a thing might happen but simply rest our cares and worries with an all-knowing God. Pray for the Blythswood foodbank and the service it provides for many who would otherwise struggle to put food on the table for themselves and their families. Let us give thanks that we have plenty and be generous in sharing with any in need.
Tuesday 17th March.
I will allow no sleep to my eyes, no slumber to my eyelids till I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling for the Holy one of Jacob. Psalm 132: 4
This was a call made so that the leaders of Israel might keep in mind that they had been left in charge of the Ark, and David was very keen that he would build the Temple where God would dwell, but this wish was denied to him, because he had always been involved in battles. Instead it was promised to him by God, that the temple would be built by his son Solomon, to the exact instructions which David would receive from God, and there the Ark would find its safe resting place. O Lord, we pray that when we are called to do some work for You, we will carry out Your call without questioning Your reasoning.
Give thanks for a good nights’ sleep, and for the rest and renewal that our bodies receive during that time. Pray for those who are working when most are asleep, providing essential services we perhaps take for granted. For postal workers, delivery drivers, those on night shift in hospital wards, theatres and laboratories. Pray too for police dealing with incidents and accidents that they would be kept protected and that the traumatic situations they witness would not adversely affect their mental health.
Wednesday 18th March.
Let us go to His dwelling place; let us worship at His footstool – arise, O Lord and come to your resting place. Psalm 132: 7
At the time of King David, there were a great deal of warring heathen peoples who surrounded and fought against the Israelites, who were known to be the people of God. Since God was in full control to protect His people, these heathen tribes were not able to overcome them. God ensured that true worship was re-established as the people sought the Lord. He in turn promised He would never leave them or forsake them. David expressed the desire that he wanted to provide a place for God to live in the holy city of Jerusalem, and where the Israelites could gather together to worship and to obey all that God and David had agreed, but although this wish was denied to David, he was given the full details of how the temple was to be built by God.
Give thanks for the work of Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) who use planes and other technology to reach isolated people. Many of the places they travel to can only be accessed safely from the air, but they believe that remoteness shouldn’t stop people from receiving the love of God and the essentials of life. Pray for a young man from Kenya called Meshack who survived a shooting at his school. MAF flew him 350miles to get specialist treatment but he lost a leg and almost died. Later he was flown to Nairobi to be measured for a prosthetic leg, but it took over a year for the leg to be delivered. And we moan about our NHS.
Thursday 19th March.
The Lord swore an oath to David, a sure oath that He will not revoke. Psalm 132: 11.
God told David the details of how the building of the temple should be carried out and how the nation of Israel would be led by God. In order to show that He approved of David’s obedience, God made an oath by which He promised that men from David’s line would for ever be given the throne, occupied by David at that time, provided that they continued to keep true to the laws of God. This oath was continued into Solomon’s reign but varied kings thereafter either agreed or disagreed with the worship of God, and this wrongdoing led to the breakup of the whole kingdom. How Satan is always busy to try to lead people away from the true worship of God.
Give thanks for the young folk who have been through our Sunday schools and Youth groups and are now progressing in their lives and careers. We give special praise for those who come back to visit when they are in Inverness to visit friends and family. Help us to pray for each one knowing that this world will present difficulties, that the grounding in faith they received at the East and in their homes will carry them through when the going gets tough. Pray for anyone who today is worried about a child or young adult that their minds would be stilled.
Friday 20th March.
One of your own descendants I will place on your throne – if your sons keep my covenant and the statutes I teach them. Psalm 132: 12
We now move to how this psalm ends, based on facts of the nation’s history and guidance by God, as He spoke to the people through King David and established His covenant to always have a relation of David reign on the throne of Israel. God kept His promise, but many of those He appointed, failed to follow the true worship which God expected of them. However, together God and David worked in agreement to find a site to build the temple, which would be where the Ark of God’s Covenant would dwell and God would meet with the rulers of Israel. When we hear of this close relation between God and David, it is easy to understand that God, at that time, blessed His people as they started along life’s road, led by David who was true to God’s word and His worship.
Give thanks for the work of Christians against Poverty (CAP) who through debt counselling and empowering local churches, aim to release families from grinding poverty. They deal with about 21,500 families annually. Pray for integrity in governing the finances of our country so that the opportunity to become vastly rich at the expense of vast numbers of underprivileged people would cease and that real poverty would become a thing of the past.
Saturday 21st March 21.
This is my resting place for ever and ever; here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it. Psalm 132: 14
We must not forget that all that has been promised by God has been fulfilled, as hundreds of years after King David, Jesus was born in the lineage of David and followed the instructions of God, to ensure that a new covenant was made, by which our sins might be forgiven because of Jesus sacrificial death at Calvary. This promise, like the one in the time of David, was for all who followed Gods’ ways and who, in Jesus’ time believed that He was the Son of God. Nothing more was needed, for Jesus has paid the ransom for all our sins, past, present and future. How sad it is when we hear worshippers say they must do more, when Jesus has done all that is required, and has given us His righteousness in return.
Give thanks for the outreach facilities of the Church Website and social media platforms and for those who update the information on these so that all the latest news and sermons can reach interested folk near and far. Pray for those who listen to the sermons using CDs that they would feel part of our family even although they cannot now attend church. Pray that we would in the future be able to stream our services to allow those away from home or housebound to feel they are actually there to enjoy being part of Worship at the East.
Sunday 22nd March.
I will bless her with abundant provisions; her poor will I satisfy with food. Psalm 132: 15
As we come to the end of the longest of these Psalms of Ascent, we remember the troubles of King David and the many battles he fought to protect the nation of Israel, how he laboured to serve his Lord, and how he was determined to establish his kingdom to be true worshippers of God, so God acknowledged David’s obedience by showering the nation with plenty. Despite not being permitted to construct the temple for God, David set his mind on locating where the Ark was, so that it would be available to be housed in the temple when it was built. David was pleased to find it in the house of Abinadab and He was also honoured when God told him the precise details for the building of the temple. In all David’s life he showed obedience to his Lord, and this led him to hope in the future, and so may we rejoice as hope rises in our hearts when we follow our Lord’s teaching and obey His commands.
May we never cease to give thanks that we can meet freely to worship our Lord and Saviour in the peace and comfort of our Church. Pray for the work of the Barnabas Trust as they seek to help persecuted Churches. Especially remember their work in the Central African Republic where extremists killed 2 pastors on Christmas day and Christians and aid workers were murdered in a convoy attack in Nigeria. Pray too as they help 50 churches in Myanmar which have been allowed to open again.
Monday 23rd March.
How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity.Psalm 133: 1
What a great feeling it is when we observe people living in unity, be they families, or work colleagues but especially when they belong to a church family. This true unity is the same as we see existed between Jesus and His heavenly Father, and we should understand that when we greet each other and act with concern for others’ needs, it is of greatest importance. How often in our modern times, we have noted that congregations have been divided for minor differences of opinion or even because of their unwillingness to discuss these opinions. Dear Lord, bring us to live in harmony with our neighbours, and let us learn to worship in unity, despite the things which seek to divide us.
Give thanks for those who are able to care for those who are sick or disabled. Pray today for those whose lives have been changed forever by a diagnosis they have received or a change in a partner or relatives health which has resulted in family life falling apart. Pray for those who have Alzheimer’s and Dementia that as their minds become increasingly cloudy, they would still be aware of God. Pray for patience and wisdom for family and carers who deal daily with this cruel illness.
Tuesday 24th March.
It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard. Psalm 133: 2
Those who have become God’s people and who gathered to travel to Jerusalem for one of the appointed feasts, do not quarrel for they are known as part of the family of God. An example of this unity is found in Leviticus chapter 8, when Moses carried out the ordination of his brother Aaron to be chief priest. Rather than being resentful of his brother getting this high honour, Moses was so joyful that when it came to the anointing with oil, he poured it on so enthusiastically that it ran down the beard and over Aaron’s ornamental robes. Now this reminds us of the thought of the presence of morning dew, which was plentiful on the hills around Mount Hermon, where many of these pilgrims would have come from, would be welcome to the folk of Jerusalem where the land was so dry, and would be considered as a special gift for the celebration at the feast they had gathered to attend.
Give thanks for those who prepare and present the services at Church every Sunday and at funerals and other services, and for many others who use their talents in the Church. Pray for the Highland Gospel Male Voice Choir as it seeks to spread the gospel in song and testimony throughout the highlands. Pray too for other singers and musicians like Acclaim who use their talents to tell people about Jesus and His saving grace.
Wednesday 25th March.
On Mount Hermon, for there the Lord bestows His blessing, even life for evermore. Psalm 133: 3
We are told to come to God in unity and we see that in this psalm, we are told that by making a pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem, and being so joyful to have the opportunity to worship their true God, the people of Israel were able to thank Him for protecting them on their travels through lands, inhabited by cruel heathen people. God also showed guidance to them as they brought their worship to Him, and He assured them of His love and His blessings which would never end. So may we, as we worship the same God, remain in unity with those who give thanks for the blessings we receive from God, especially for sending His dear Son Jesus to earth to suffer, in order that we were given the opportunity to be saved by His precious blood.
Give thanks for talented songwriters in ancient times and today who have penned praise for us to sing to God. Pray that we would not fall into habit and sing the well-known words without feeling the meaning in our hearts and souls. Pray too that as a congregation we would be glad to learn new praise items so that our praise to God would be fresh and vital. Pray today for those who have recently lost a loved one, that they would have a clear understanding of God being near them in their heartbreak.
Thursday 26th March.
Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord who minister by night in the house of the Lord. Psalm 134: 1
We come to the last of these Psalms of Ascents, and we realise how committed to worship these people were, as they were willing to travel great distances to praise God in His Holy Temple, in obedience to His command to attend at His three Holy feasts. Two of these were Passover and Tabernacles, both of which lasted a week, while Pentecost was held in just one day. At the end of the feast they would return home and their worship at God’s temple was over until the next feast was due. However, worship continued in the temple as the priests carried on with their duties, day and night, and so it is that we should ensure that we attend to continually worship of our Lord.
Give thanks for the Spring and the longer days, for the signs of new life, daffodils in the parks and gardens and lambs in the fields. Pray for those who live in areas of the world where the climate is harsh and they have to travel many miles just to collect water. Pray for lands where crops have failed and hunger is evident in the faces of those who live there. Especially we pray for children who have poor access to food and medicines that we would all support agencies who offer real help.
Friday March 27.
Lift up your hands in the Sanctuary and praise the Lord. Psalm 134: 2
In this section of Psalm 134, we hear that the priests who, minister in the temple and praise God, which is the same as in our time, declaring that God is good and worthy of the best praise we can offer. As the pilgrims went up to the temple, they asked the priests to help them with three aspects of worship, because they felt their inability to meet with God in a worthy manner. The first was prayer – to ensure that God would hear and accept it as worthy; the second was the offering of incense to accompany their prayers rising to heaven and the third was giving them assistance in offering their sacrifice to release them from their sins, committed since their last visit to the temple. How we give thanks that as Christians, Christ’s death on the cross has provided God with the perfect, once for all Sacrifice to redeem us from all our sin.
Give thanks for the work of Gideons UK as they place Bibles in Schools and Universities, care homes, hotels and prisons and distribute the Word of God to services like ambulance workers. Police, armed forces and fire services. Pray for recent work undertaken to distribute the Gospel of John in Bengal. Many there are unable to read so illustrated versions have enabled many to understand that God is the only God and they no longer visit Hindu temples however some face persecution when they convert to Christianity and so we must continue to pray.
Saturday 28th March.
May the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth, bless you from Zion. Psalm 134: 3
Here is where the pilgrims’ long journey is ended and they will soon set off on their return home, but with hearts gladdened with the joy of true worship. They have obeyed the command of God to attend His Holy feasts and as they offer worship to their creator and receive His blessing in return, their hearts would be made joyful. We give thanks that these same blessings are available to all who follow this same Lord, and we pray that we never forget to give praise and thanks to our God, who is from everlasting to everlasting. Let us note that God’s worship with Israel was continuous, and so it is in these days, He is always there to answer when we call on Him, and we can rely on His promise not to leave or forsake us.
Give thanks for our homes, and for all the comforts we enjoy there. Let us be grateful also for ease of transport and for resources readily available to us. Pray for the Bear Necessities group based in Alness which help particularly orphans in a village called Orazari in Bulgaria. They have been able to bring a divided community together, ensuring children are clothed and fed, establishing medical facilities locally so that people do not have to travel many miles for treatment and even bring toys and joy to children who have nothing.
Sunday 29th March.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise Him all creatures here below. Mission Praise 557
We have completed our study on these Psalms of Ascents and have 3 more days to finish this month’s bible readings, so we will take another look through the journeys that the Israelites passed along before getting to the end. In Psalm 120, we learn of a Christian in a heathen land seeking to reach a land where God’s Grace is present. Next in Psalm 121 we hear the psalmist declaring that his hope in troubled times relies on the Lord. In Psalm 122 he speaks of the Holy city of Jerusalem and prays that peace would allow sincere worship of God to be made there. Psalm 123 tells us that we are to ask God for what we need and wait patiently for His mercy. In Psalm 124, we are told that God will rescue His people from harm. Psalm 125 speaks of the reliance of King David as he obeyed God’s commands and felt secure.
Give thanks for the Blythswood Christmas parcel appeal and for those who donated to and organised packing the boxes. Pray that the contents would have brought joy to someone who would otherwise not have had a Christmas gift. If you can take a look at their website on www.blythswood.org and see some who received presents and perhaps chose to pray for that child or adult. Pray for Blythswood in its year-round work locally with the foodbank and in the Daniel Centre, Elpis Foundation, and Talita Kum in Romania.
Monday 30th March 30.
May God’s blessing surround you each day, as you trust Him and walk in His way. Mission Praise: 460
Psalm 126 tells us that when God does wonderful things for us, He gives us great joy, but Psalm 127 says we must work hard to achieve fulfilment in our labour. In Psalm 128 says how content they are when God aids them as they are working. In Psalm 129 we are warned how evil will try to draw people away from God, while Psalm 130 assures us that God can rescue us from such evil. In Psalm 131 we are told to be humble before God and He will rescue us from the evils of the world, while in Psalm 132 David’s plan to build the temple is passed to his son by God’s command and David obeyed. Psalm 133 speaks of the benefit of people in unity for they worship as one, and lastly Psalm 134 asks us to worship our Lord at all times and give thanks for His goodness to us.
Give thanks for hearing, speech, and vision. Although we can complain that we perhaps don’t hear so well these days, many live without sight, or suffer with other disabilities. Give thanks also for the skills now available to surgeons and physicians to be able to use cochlear implants to facilitate hearing and even cataract operations to restore failing sight. Pray for those across the world unable to work due to disability and for those who may be facing a difficult future as one of these vital faculties begins to fail.
Tuesday 31st March.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14: 27
Let us use this last day of March to consider the words of encouragement which Jesus left with His disciples, before He too went on His last journey to Jerusalem. He told them to trust in God and also to trust in Him and He gave them a new command to love one another, for by so doing they would show that they were His followers. He also gave the sure promise that although He was going back to His father in Heaven, He would return to take those who loved Him to His new heaven where sorrow would be no more, and all would rest in peace forevermore. The greatest promise of all was to send the Holy Spirit to be our Councillor and guide as we seek to follow the ways of God.
Give thanks for peace, in our homes, in our churches, in our workplaces and in our country. Pray for those whose lives are full of trouble and turmoil. Those who live in fear of abuse, those who dread going to work because of intimidation, those who have no peace in their minds due to addiction and dark thoughts. We pray for those who serve in our forces, especially those stationed in warzones as peace- keeping personnel. Let us finish our prayer month by asking God that His peace which surpasses any other peace would be ours, whatever we face.