I’ve recently been drawn back to a Psalm that was once the cornerstone of my personal worship. Have you ever had a Scripture like that, a specific passage that could immediately drive your spirit to its knees?
O God, You are my God, Earnestly I seek You.My soul thirsts for You. My body longs for YouIn a dry and weary land where there is no water.
I have seen You in the sanctuaryand beheld Your power and your glory.Because Your love is better than life My lips will glorify You.I will praise You as long as I live,And in Your Name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foodsWith singing lips my mouth will praise you.On my bed I remember You.I think of You through the watches of the night.
Because You are my help,I will sing in the shadow of Your wings.My soul clings to You. Your right hand upholds me. Psalm 63:1-8
The Gist, Not the Nuts & Bolts
I don’t know how these verses are written in Scripture—with all the commas, semicolons, and spaces—but that’s how I remember it. That’s how I memorized it and recited it in 2002 while I laid in bed during my extended illness.
That’s how I’ve started reciting it again recently, when my devotional time felt dry and my Bible reading seemed mechanical. These verses touch every nuance of my need and remind me Who is most important:
- 1st paragraph – My body and soul are longing in a dry and weary land, no water—chronic pain and unanswered physical questions—but it is God I truly seek.
- 2nd paragraph – I’ve stood among God’s people in church and worshiped, but can I worship alone—praise Him for His love and sufficiency alone? It is a choice, and yes, I will!
- 3rd paragraph – during those long, sleepless nights, I can choose to praise Him and be satisfied with His presence.
- 4th paragraph – When I cling to Him, the darkness I experience is merely the shadow of His protective wing…and I will sing.
Quiet Time Quandary
When I sit down for my quiet time in the morning, I tend to think intellect, knowledge, learning. I’m there to read and study God’s Word and gain insight to make positive changes in my life.
What’s wrong with that?
It’s not so much wrong as it is incomplete. Why only learn? Why only implement? When God is more amazing than words can describe, how can I be satisfied to merely study Him?
But here’s a confession…I’m bad at praise. My words feel inadequate and small. That’s why I memorized part of Psalm 63. David’s words seemed anointed for what I longed to say.
And then it dawned on me…
Of course they’re anointed! They’re God-inspired! They’re Scripture. So, why not praise God using the words His Holy Spirit dictated? But isn’t that cheating? Using His words to praise Him? I don’t think so. Here’s why…
Visual and Verbal
For centuries God’s people SPOKE and SANG His Word to pass it down to their children. In the days when Israel was in Egypt, slaves wouldn’t have had tools to write their ancient stories. There was no visual text, only verbal tradition that passed down every word and detail through stories and songs that became the Old Testament we now hold in our hands.
And the clincher for me is found in Jeremiah (31:33) and quoted twice in Hebrews (also in 10:16):
“This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.” Hebrews 8:10
I can’t tell you what a comfort it is to be able to recite those words of Psalm 63 throughout my day. It is written on my heart, and it lifts my mind to the heavenlies as I go about my daily business.
Challenge to Recite
My menopausal brain resembles Swiss cheese—meaning about 50% of all incoming information falls into the holes and becomes irretrievable. Memorization is not easy, but it’s worth it.
- Find a passage that pierces your heart with God’s presence.
- Start slow—one line at a time.
- Write it down again and again.
- Say it aloud several times a day, several days in a row, for several weeks.
- Worship as you memorize it. Never lose sight of WHY you’re doing it—to praise Jesus.
“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6