Psalm 139 is lots of people’s favourite psalm and if you take time to prayerfully rest in its many parts you can find new ways for that beautiful word from God to soak into your life.
Let me start by explaining this example of creative ways to spend time with Jesus took place in our church, Diaspora. Diaspora means dispersed or scattered in Greek and that’s what we are, a dispersed or scattered church community that meets mostly in separate Disciplemaking Communities.
Among our communities, Diaspora is reading a Psalm a week until the end of the year as we seek to grow in Living a Life of Worship. And each month our Disciplemaking Communities join together for a time of joint prayer exercises or devotional activity.
This month we took a prayer station approach to Psalm 139. It was a fun, reflective, creative, slowing down approach to the psalm. We made stations for each few verses to help us to listen to God and immerse ourselves in what Psalm 139 has to say.
I would recommend this approach not only for groups, although it is great if different people create different stations for your faith community, but for individuals as well. Some of my favourite quiet times (am I allowed to have favourite quiet times? oh well, I guess I do) have been using prayer stations with creative ways to draw close to Jesus.
This certainly ties in with my involvement with 24-7 Prayer Canada. One of my great joys is encouraging and equipping churches, schools and groups in setting up creative prayer rooms. 24-7 Prayer Canada offers excellent resources for this. Prayer rooms with a variety of stations can be wonderful ways to focus on getting closer to God as a community. If you’d like more info on 24-7 Prayer and setting up prayer rooms in churches, schools, or homes feel free to get in touch with myself or 24-7 Prayer Canada.
Back to Psalm 139… here are a few of the stations (not in order) that we used:
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Then the instructions:
Read the verses.
Look at yourself in the mirror.
God sees you as you are.
HE LOVES YOU, YES YOU!
He sees the struggles, sin and where you want to change.
Read the verses again and
ask God to cleanse you from your sins.
Ask Him to lead you in His way of love.
2. Verse 16
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
You’ll find a blank timeline here. (they found pages with this on it)
Timeline of Your Life So Far
Take one of the timeline sheets and mark significant events in your life. Do a few or a lot as you like.
Once you marked the events in your life, reread verse 16.
Take some time to think about how God has been with you through the events of your life.
God made you a unique person with unique experiences both good and bad. He knows you and your future.
Talk to Him about this.
3. Verses 13 and 14:
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
This station included some modelling clay of a colourful commercial variety. It was easy to mold, like a child’s toy to tap into our people’s imaginations. Plus it gave us a prayer station with a sense of touch to it. It’s good to engage all our senses in our times with God.
God molded and formed you in your mother’s womb like a beautiful sculpture created by a master artist.
Take the modelling clay. Feel it, squish it, shape something out of it— a ball, a snake, an abstract design, a replica of Noah’s ark or a person — think of how God carefully formed you as a beautiful creation.
He is the artist and you are the creative expression of His art.
What does this mean to you? Talk to Him about it. Thank Him or otherwise express your feelings.
Those stations will give you the idea how we approached our devotional time with Psalm 139. Then we did a debrief and those who were willing talked about how it all spoke to them and connected them to God.
You could try this kind of approach to your personal devotional time. Let yourself read and rest in a passage of the Scriptures. Ask God to hep you find creative ways to relate to the passage and then set up a few stations to help you focus on various parts.
One of the advantages of an activity like this is that it helps us see the Scriptures in more detail. Rather than reading through a verse and glossing over some verse we take a more concentrated approach to each section. It can help you listen better to God through the Bible.