URC Daily Devotion 20 November 2022

Sunday 20 November 2022  
Psalm 116
I love the Lord, who heard my cry
and pitied ev’ry groan.
Long as I live and troubles rise,
I’ll hasten to God’s throne.

2 I love the Lord, who heard my cry
and chased my grief a-way.
O let my heart no more despair
while I have breath to pray.

Isaac Watts (1719)

You can hear Witney Houston sing this here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5oXJBtMfGk
You can hear this as a call and response song from a Black American church here

I’m not sure how many Daily Devotions readers would want to stake their life on their prayer life.  It isn’t always a hot topic of conversation around the URC.  If your life depended upon your prayers, how would you fare?  I heard a story about a ship that was sinking in the middle of the ocean and the captain called out to everyone on board, “Does anybody here believe in prayer?”

And one person said, “Yes, Captain, I do.”

“Wonderful, we’ll all put our life jackets on and you can pray, because we’re one life jacket short.” 

I’m not certain that I would want to be the one on that ship without a life jacket praying and depending only on prayer.  But there is a challenge to us in this Psalm.  Ought to be more confident not in our own ability to pray but in God’s ability to hear us and to respond?  This is why the Psalmist, despite clearly having been through some awful situation, is confident in thanking God for hearing his prayers.

Many people tell me that they’re quite uncomfortable about praying, or that prayer is one of the most difficult things in living a Christian life.  When Michael Ramsay was Archbishop of Canterbury he was asked how long he prayed for each morning.  He replied that he prayed for one minute, but it took him up to half an hour to prepare for that one minute.

Today’s Psalm encourages and challenges us to pray, and not only to pray, but to pray with confidence and therefore pray more because we have confidence.

Loving God,
Give me strength: 
strength to hold on, 
and strength to let do.  


Today’s writer

The Rev’d Dr Michael Hopkins is minister of a group of Methodist and United Reformed Churches in and around Farnham, Surrey, and Clerk of the General Assembly.


New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Copyright © 2022 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you have subscribed to the Daily Devotions from the United Reformed Church. You can unsubscribe by clicking on the link below.

Our mailing address is:

United Reformed Church

86 Tavistock Place

London, WC1H 9RT

United Kingdom

Add us to your address book