Our Daily Bread Devotional For July 16, 2023 : Topic – Prayer and Transformation
Bible in a Year:
They cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress.
Today’s Scripture : Psalm 107:23-36
The book of Psalms is divided into five “books” of psalms, each with an overriding theme. This organization of the Psalms was done by Jewish rabbinic scholars before the birth of Christ. Books One (Psalms 1–41) and Two (Psalms 42–72) contain most of David’s psalms and are heavily marked by songs of lament. Book Three (Psalms 73–89) portrays Israel’s story from the golden age of Solomon to the divided kingdom and exile. Book Four (Psalms 90–106) tells of Israel’s captivity and bondage. Each book concludes with a statement of praise and benediction. Psalm 107 is the opening psalm of Book Five (Psalms 107–150) and celebrates the Israelites’ rescue and return from captivity, as seen vividly in Psalm 107:2–3. The five books of psalms mirror the five books of Torah (Genesis–Deuteronomy).
Message : In 1982, pastor Christian Führer began Monday prayer meetings at Leipzig’s St. Nicholas Church. For years, a handful gathered to ask God for peace amid global violence and the oppressive East German regime. Though communist authorities watched churches closely, they were unconcerned until attendance swelled and spilled over to mass meetings outside the church gates. On October 9, 1989, seventy thousand demonstrators met and peacefully protested. Six thousand East German police stood ready to respond to any provocation. The crowd remained peaceful, however, and historians consider this day a watershed moment. A month later, the Berlin Wall fell. The massive transformation all started with a prayer meeting.
As we turn to God and begin relying on His wisdom and strength, things often begin to shift and reshape. Like Israel, when we cry “out to the Lord in [our] trouble,” we discover the God who alone is capable of profoundly transforming even our most dire predicaments and answering our most vexing questions (Psalm 107:28). God stills “the storm to a whisper” and turns “the desert into pools of water” (vv. 29, 35). The One to whom we pray brings hope out of despair and beauty out of ruin.
But it’s God who (in His time—not ours) enacts transformation. Prayer is how we participate in the transforming work He’s doing.
Reflect & Pray
When have you seen God do something transformative? What’s the connection between His actions and our prayers?
Dear God, I need Your transforming work. Please change what only You can change.