In touch with God's missional heart -- the big "so that"

Often we Christians can spend time praying and living for God, and still miss the heart of God. One way this happens is when we turn inward, wanting God to bless us and take care of our needs (which is a good thing to do) while not paying close attention to the rest of the world (which is not good). It's easy to do. But there is a prayer in Scripture that, if we pray it and practice it, will keep reminding us that God's heart is for all people including people who already love God and people who don't.

The prayer is the first two verses of Psalm 67, which is the passage we focused on last Sunday at Sanctuary. The prayer goes like this:
May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine on us --
so that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.
Do you see the big "so that" in there? We want God to bless us so that his ways may be known on earth and his salvation among all nations. We want him to do good things for us so that people we know will come to know him. Often we Christians stop before the big "so that." We want God to bless us. Period. God's heart, as reflected in this Psalm, is to be generous to us so that more people will come to know him. And how will this happen? We will not only pray the big "so that," we will practice the big "so that." We will carry his presence into every nook and cranny of the world around us, as Alan Hirsch likes to say.

So, based on Psalm 67, here are my recommendations:

  1. Pray these two verses of Psalm 67 often enough that you memorize them. And then pray them some more. If you have a family, pray this Psalm with your children.
  2. When you pray the verses, mention the names of specific people you want to know God's ways and experience his salvation.
  3. Pray these verses for churches  and ministries in other parts of the world. For instance, "Father, please bless your people in Haiti. Make your face shine upon them, so that your ways may be known throughout that country and your salvation in every nook and cranny of Haitian society."
  4. Live the big "so that" by talking more openly about what God is doing in your life. We can do this with great humility, emphasizing God's graciousness and not exalting ourselves. We can do this with honesty, not needing to have all the answers but just bearing witness to who he is as we currently know him. 

The lesson I learn from Psalm 67 is that to get more in touch with God's heart, we have to become people of the big "so that." May our hearts expand with the generosity of the big "so that."

Comments

  1. Dave Beck, oh how I miss being in a bible study with you. This is exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you!!

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  2. Stewie! You are living the big "so that." Good on you! For those who don't know Stephanie, she is striking out into the great unknown with Jesus by embarking on a 6-month YWAM missions adventure. You can follow her journey at: http://stew-in-australia.blogspot.com/.

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