Praying Psalm 67: Staying Mission Focused
A Weekly Prayer Primer by Matthew Nihiser
A Mission Song (Psalm 67)
The writer of Psalm 67 finds his inspiration from Numbers 6. Here, God commands Aaron and his sons to bless Israel by saying over them, "'The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.' So shall [the priests] put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.'"
God wants to bless Israel and He does. But, over time, Israel forgets the purpose behind God's blessing and she twists it. God chooses and enriches Israel both, physically and spiritually, so that she would be a Beacon of Truth and Grace to the surrounding nations...and lead them into a relationship with God. The tragic account of Jonah's life is actually an indictment against all of Israel. The message through Jonah is that "God Saves" but the people have turned inward thinking that they alone deserve God and His grace. Israel lost sight of her blessing: To glorify God by pointing our neighbors to Him.
Psalm 67 recovers the mission of Israel in a beautiful song. Not only does the Psalmist remind us that God's name and glory is upon us, but he calls us back to our Glorious Cause!
Let's use this Mission Song to recommit ourselves to the Mission and ask God to reap a harvest:
I. Bless us, O Lord (vs. 1) -- This song was intended to be sung in a corporate gathering but all dedication, revival, and mission begins with the individual. How can we share the gospel if we don't walk with Jesus ourselves? How can we be a blessing, if we don't recognize God's blessing in our own lives? How can we show grace to others, if we are not aware of God's grace to us? Use these questions to remind yourself and reflect upon all that God has given to you (physically, for sure, but mainly spiritually). Reflect upon His promises, His presence and offer it to Him in prayer.
II. Bless us, O Lord, That the Nations Might be Blessed (vs. 2-3) -- Notice that the primary preoccupation of the writer is God Himself. It is "His Way", "His Saving Power", and "His Glory" that the individual worshiper and the Body of Christ wants the world to see. We are the messengers of "His Way", "His Saving Power", "His Glory" as we live and share. And, we desperately want our unsaved family, friends, and neighbors to see Jesus. Do you want the people around you to see Christ in you? Who do you have a passion for to receive Christ? Would you offer yourself up as a Messenger and ask The Spirit to open the eyes of the spiritually blind?
III. Bless us, O Lord, And We Will Await Your Harvesting Work (vss. 6-7) -- God will respond to this prayer. Why? Because we know God does all things for the praise of His Glory and He sent His Son to die because He so loved the world. As we ask for God's blessing and we seek to be a blessing of God to others needing Christ, let us offer up the "prayer of faith" trusting that He will work...and keep looking for His answer to our prayer.
By the way, every good song has a chorus. In Psalm 67, the chorus can be found in verses 2 and 5. Also notice that "Selah" is noted twice (after vs.1 and vs. 4). "Selah" is not a word intended to be sung but a musical notation that calls upon the worshiper to stop the song (or slow it down) and let the truth of what was sung "sink in". So, this song is not intended to be rushed but carefully and calmly thought over, chewed upon, and allowed to seep deep into our souls as we offer it to God.