Calling on God in Truth
The LORD is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth.
Psalm 145 celebrates the greatness and goodness of God. We know God's superlative nature because of his powerful, gracious actions. In particular, the Lord cares for the fallen and the hungry (Ps. 145:16). Yet he is "filled with kindness" for all and is "close to all who call on him" (Ps. 145:17-18).
This does not mean, however, that we should fashion God in our own image, making him into whatever we like, and praying according to our particular biases and projections. Psalm 145:18 reminds us: "The LORD is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth." Our prayers should reflect the character of God as revealed in history, in Scripture, and most of all in Jesus Christ. They should take into account God's will for us. It would be foolish, for example, to ask God to bless behavior that was clearly contrary to his revelation. To ask God not to be loving, or to endorse hateful behavior, would be silly. On the other hand, to pray in line with God's identity and will would be wise. Moreover, in the language of Psalm 145:18, God is "close" to us when we call on him "in truth."
Psalm 145:18 gives expression to one of my basic hopes and motivations as I write these Daily Reflections. I believe that the best way for us to call upon God in truth is to immerse ourselves in Scripture. Here we glimpse the actions of God that reveal his nature. Here we read what God says about himself. Here we can find God's will for our behavior. The more we allow the written Word of God to permeate our minds and hearts, the more we will be able to pray in light of God's true nature and true will.
When we pray in this way, not only will we find that our prayers are answered positively, but also we will sense the presence of God in our lives. He will be "close" to us as we meditate upon his truth, growing into a deeper relationship with him.
All of us desire God's closeness in our lives as we relate to him in truth. But we are not alone in this desire. God also seeks this kind of relationship with us. As Jesus said, "[T]he time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23-24).
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How has knowing God through Scripture impacted the way you pray? How has knowing God's will through Scripture impacted the way you pray? Have you experienced God's closeness when you call upon him "in truth"?
PRAYER: Thank you, dear Lord, for the promise of Psalm 145:18. Thank you for being close to us when we call upon you, especially when we call upon you in truth.
Help me, gracious God, to pray in this way. It is so easy for me to lay before you what I want for myself, to pray in light of my own selfish needs and desires. Yet I want my prayers to reflect your nature and your will. So teach me, correct me, guide me, and inspire me, so that I might call upon you in truth.
All praise be to you, O God, for your strength and grace, for your majesty and holiness, and for your closeness to me. Amen.