Saturday, August 10, 2013

Seven Ways to Pray: 1. Delight

Read the introductory post for Seven Ways to Pray for Your Heart. Also, you can find Jon Bloom's original article here.

This week's word is delight. Delight has several definitions, all having to do with joy or pleasure: joy; rapture a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment; something that gives such pleasure; to give this height of joy/rapture; to have/take great pleasure (in something/someone). As you can see, delight covers all facets of joy -- what it is, receiving it, finding it, transferring it.

Delight seems to be a rather strange thing to focus on in prayer. But as I've learned this week, it is indeed necessary. To delight in God, is to find pleasure in God and the things of God. In focusing on that word this week, I realize that we take the ability to delight in God for granted. It is easy to delight in things and circumstances and the blessings of God, but it is a little more abstract to delight in God himself. Psalm 37:4 tells to that it is in delighting in the Lord that we are given the desires of our hearts. Not that we should find pleasure in God so that he can give us what we want, but rather when we seek to find our joy in the Lord, we don't have to worry about anything else. Nehemiah knew this, when he told the Israelites working on the wall of Jerusalem not to worry about anything, because the joy of the Lord would be their strength (Neh 8:10). And then, of course, Paul, in his letter to the Philippians tells us to rejoice in the Lord always (Phil 4:4).

I guess the next logical question would be, "How do I delight in the Lord?"

1 Peter 1:8 captures beautifully part of delighting in the Lord: "Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy." Part of our delight in God comes by loving God and having a firm faith in God. In loving and believing in God, we experience the greatest joy that we can even know. It's indescribable.

Also, Psalm 1:2 tells us that the delight of a blessed (or happy) person is in the law of the Lord, on which he/she meditates constantly. (I wrote a bit about that here.) Part of delighting in God, is delighting in His word. All of Psalm 119 is dedicated to seeking the heart of God through his Word (and that's a lot of verses dedicated to reading the Word of God!) The Bible shows us who God is, and how we should seek Him, as well as how we should respond to Him. Through constant study of God's Word, we can begin to understand the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, all-knowing and yet multifaceted God that we serve. And it is in understanding that God is so multifaceted and omni-everything that we can delight in a God who is before all things, and in whom all things hold together (Col 1:17).

We also need to humble ourselves before God, in order to truly delight in him. In the time of the prophet Isaiah, the people of Israel would try to find their delight in the Lord by their religious practices of fasting, but their hearts weren't right. So the Lord challenged them not to "fast" by the usual sackcloth and ashes and no food and such, but instead by opening their hearts to serve and sacrifice for the marginalized in their society. Isaiah's word from God told them not to pursue their own interests, and this was how they could delight in the Lord. (Isaiah 58.)

And finally, why delight in God? The things that we find the most pleasure in, are things that we treasure. And as Jesus told us in Matthew 6:21, our hearts are wherever we store our treasures.

Be blessed and shine with delight!

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A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—
and how good is a timely word! -Prov 15:23