“He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Exodus 15:2
It was a dry time in my pilgrimage. My life had gone stale and times of prayer had become a dull routine, so I went away on one of those retreats. “What’s wrong?” I pled with God to renew me, to revive my spirit, to restore a robust faith. After several hours, I sort of wore out on that approach and, a little listlessly, turned to praise. Once again I re-learned the lesson: a heavy spirit lifts on the wings of praise. Here’s what I wrote in my journal, the prayer that set my spirit free, renewed intimacy in the relationship with my Lover, induced a surge of faith:
Father, thank you for your marvelous gifts: salvation and hope, the Savior’s loving presence within and about, the blessed Spirit who transforms and empowers, your friendship, incredible as that is. Thank you, thank you, for the wonderful Book. And thank you for the gift of such a magnificent world: the flowers, the grass and trees, the lovely birds and wondrous beasts, mountains and seas, streams and mighty rivers, rocks and sands and all things beautiful. What a glorious idea marriage was! And family. Friends so loyal and loving. And humankind, displaying your image-imprint, creating magnificent art and literature and music. I love fine architecture and astounding technologies. You’ve given me work to do that counts for eternity. The gifts of health and abilities and, especially, my wife. Thank you for your gifts.
But best of all, Father, I’m forever grateful for who you are. Every characteristic speaks your majestic Godhood. But from among them all, in splendid array, I focus often on your wisdom, power, and love. Wisdom to know all things, power to do all you will, and love to count me in. What more could I ask? I could ask for holiness, for what kind of god would we have if he could figure everything out, accomplish anything and felt affectionately toward us, but was crooked, no model of right and dispenser of injustice? And what if you were unpredictable and given to change? How insecure we would be! And what if you had a beginning or—worse—an end? That would be the ultimate insecurity. But no, you are all there is of perfection, beyond all imagination. And today I bow in humble gratitude.
Not immortal literature, you say? But when those words burst from deep within me at three a.m. in a borrowed mountain hideaway, my hobbled, heavy spirit took flight. I was free again! Praise will do that. Moses, on a grander level, experienced a surge of incredible faith as he rehearsed to God all His excellencies. Exodus 15:2: “The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” Moses’ prayer focused on God, worshiping Him, praising Him. He constantly reminded God of His mighty acts and magnificent promises (eg. see Exodus 32:11-13). Praise, fixing our attention on God, is a powerful builder of confidence in Him.
There are other ways Moses shows the way to build trust. First of all, to trust Him we must companion with Him. And in companioning with Him, thanksgiving, praise, adoration—worship, to sum it up—builds the trust bonds best of all. How about setting apart next Sunday afternoon, or a few hours on your next day off, and write out all the things you like about God and all the things you’re grateful for that he’s done for you?