It may seem odd to talk of beauty in the anxious times we’re currently living in. But maybe we need the reminder all the more that there is beauty in God’s love — a love always present no matter the world’s circumstances. Chapter 4 of Longing to Pray focuses on the beauty involved in friendship. Even though friendship involves candor and being able to simply “be oneself,” we will often go to great lengths to do something special for our dearest friends. And the love we show them – in all its different ways – is a thing of beauty in and of itself. It’s no different, says Dr. Kalas, when we speak of our friendship with God. Take Psalm 119, for example.
Psalm 119 is:
- The longest psalm at 176 verses, 22 stanzas of 8 verses each
- The longest chapter in the Bible
- Filled with words describing God’s “law” in all but four verses
- An alphabetic acrostic – Within each of the 22 stanzas, each verse begins with the given letter of the Hebrew alphabet (Aleph, Beth, Gimel…)
Psalm 119 is a labor of love, there’s no doubt about that. It is a gift for the Lord from the psalmist. He or she wanted it to be something beautiful for God…. (p 36)
As you read through Psalm 119 this week, look for words and phrases of beauty. Let’s think, too, about our own prayers. Have we said the same words so many times that they’ve become empty? How might we add beauty to our prayers? How might we bless our friendship with God by our words? The following is one of my favorites:
“Veni Creator Spiritus” (A prayer to the Holy Spirit, sometimes sung as a hymn.)
Come, Holy Spirit, Creator blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.
O comforter, to Thee we cry,
O heavenly gift of God Most High,
O fount of life and fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.
As Dr. Kalas says, this type of prayer is the kind of work that makes a person step back after a while and say, “Now, isn’t that nice!” Don’t forget that beauty may still be found in our friendship with God, even in times of stress and anxiety.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Cor. 13:14)