Praying Psalm 9: Self Help vs God Help

January 24, 2018

It was a very unsettled and stressful time that involved lots of practical decisions and actions. I found myself tossing and turning at night, rehearsing all the details to be resolved in some major decisions that effected my life, ministry and family. It felt like it was up to me to handle it all or no one else would. A timely reminder came from Matthew 16:24-25 in the Message. “Jesus told His disciples, ‘Anyone who intends to come with Me has to let Me lead. You are not in the driver’s seat. I am. Self-help is no help at all.’ ”

I drew a line down the middle of the next page in my prayer notebook. I labeled the left column “Self-help” and the right column “God’s help.” It would have been silly to write anything I was worrying about on my side of the ledger. I knew I couldn’t do it in my own strength and wisdom. On God’s side of the ledger, I listed everything we were facing. Lots of big things far beyond my ability to handle, but they all demanded my attention NOW.

During this time, I read Psalm 9. It is a great scriptural framework to remind me about my part and God’s part. God never intends for His children to handle His part and ours, too. God is sure to engineer for us valuable lessons and opportunities for letting Him be God.

Psalm 9

My part
1 I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonders.
2 I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

God’s part
3 You make my enemies turn back;
4 For you have upheld my right and my cause;
You have sat on your throne, judging righteously.
5 You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;
6 Endless ruin has overtaken the enemy,
You have uprooted their cities;
even the memory of them has perished.
7 You reign as LORD forever;
You have established your throne for judgment.
8 You will judge the world in righteousness;
You will govern the peoples with justice.
9 You, LORD, are a refuge for the oppressed,
A stronghold in times of trouble.

My part
10 I know your name and will trust in you.

God’s part
10 He has never forsaken those who seek him.

My part
11 I will sing praises to the LORD, enthroned in Zion;
I will proclaim among the nations what he has done.

God’s part
12 He does not ignore the cry of the afflicted.

My part
13 O LORD, see how my enemies persecute me!
Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death.

God’s part
16 The LORD is known by his justice;
The wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.
18 But the needy will not always be forgotten,
Nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish.
19 Arise, O LORD, let not man triumph;
Let the nations be judged in your presence,

My part
14 That I may declare your praises in the gates …
And there rejoice in your salvation.

That act of laying it all out before God showed me dramatically that I could carry the burden for each item, or God would, if I let Him. God did so many things so quickly that in a short time I wrote “Praise the Lord” across all items of the transition. Most important, I never fretted another minute about it, because God was carrying our cares.

In the Amplified Bible Proverbs 16:3 says, “Roll your works upon the Lord. Commit and trust them wholly to Him; [He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.” Who can do the most, you or the God of heaven and earth?

Make your own list. Roll everything over onto the shoulders of the God of heaven and earth. Experience the relief from the burden of carrying responsibility that you are not meant to bear. Declare His praises and rejoice in Him.


Taken from Prayer Essentials For Living In His Presence, Vol. 2, p. 73-74, © 2000, by Sylvia Gunter.

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