Psalm 27: An Unhurried HeartJun 16, 2021
How do we learn to live an unhurried life in such a busy, anxious world? How can I cultivate an unhurried heart when there is so much on my plate? I (Alan) recently found some wise guidance while reflecting on Psalm 27. Let me share what I learned.
Remember Who God Is
The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
David begins with God. Sounds simple, right? But there is such wisdom packed into starting with remembering who God is. God is my light, my salvation, the stronghold of my life. When I remember that, I somehow slow down inside. My fears diminish. I become unhurried.
Many of my fears relate to the unknown. I’m afraid of something out there beyond what I can see or behind me somewhere in the dark. When I let my fear lead, I become frantic. But the Lord is my light in any dark place. He is my salvation and will save me even when I don’t know I need saving. He is a safe place for my life. That is really good news.
Learn to Seek One Thing
One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)
I’m inspired by David’s singular focus in this prayer. He asks one thing of the Lord. I have a hard time hearing the words “one thing” without thinking of the movie City Slickers and Curly’s secret of life: one thing. Curly leaves Mitch in the dark as to what that one thing is, but in this psalm David is crystal clear. David’s one thing is this: continual and unhurried abiding in God’s beautiful, wise, and holy presence. This is what he’s seeking. This is what he wants.
Too often in my prayer life I focus not on one thing but on countless things. I ask God about so many things. So many things have my attention. So many things capture my interest. But at the center of it all, drawing all things together and making sense of it all, is just one thing. This is what I should ask about. This is what I should seek. This is who I should seek.
What might happen in your life if, like David, you were to pray one thing—day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. How might you change, even if only a little bit at a time?
I have prayed this psalm prayer more times than I can count. I thirst to be a person who abides in the place where God dwells, a person in whom God abides by the Spirit through Christ. I want this to be my reality for the rest of my life. I want to be a person who beholds the beauty of the Lord in a way that transforms my countenance. I want to be like Moses, whose face literally glowed when he came off the mountain after enjoying communion with God. I’d love for my face to glow with grace, kindness, simplicity, and love.
Respond to God’s Inner Invitation
“Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, do I seek. (Psalm 27:8 NRSV)
Right now, God is saying in your heart, “Seek my face. Let me become the singular focus of your will and the only affection of your heart.” David replies, “Yes. I’ll do just that.”
There is a desire that rises up from deep within me and invites me to seek God’s face. There is a corresponding response of engagement to actually seek the Lord’s face. I don’t stop at wanting to seek or intending to seek or planning to seek. I seek God—today, here, now. My heart desires to seek, and I take action to seek. It is God’s Spirit that puts that desire in me, and it is God’s Spirit that enables me to actually respond.
An Unhurried Process to Follow
- When you think about God, what feelings arise? Do you feel light, cared for, and safe? David does in Psalm 27. If you don’t feel these things, what do your feelings say about how you see God these days? Take a little time to think and pray about this.
- Take a moment to list the many things in your life that concern you, interest you, involve you, keep you from being unhurried. Can you imagine these as countless spokes of a wheel around a singular hub? Why not pray David’s prayer in verse 4 word for word as a way of remembering that one thing to which God invites us.
- How do you sense God’s invitation to seek his face? How would you like to respond to that invitation?