- A Series of Thoughts, Imagination, & Response to the 23rd Psalm
Father & Son - family collection/2015
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Psalm 23 (KJV)
We all have a father, some are present and some are not. Some fathers are funny and playful, others are deep-thinking and stoic. As far as fathers go, what a wide range they can be! Whatever personality he may have, a father's presence in the home makes a tremendous impact. A good father can help his family feel safe, secured and at rest. I believe the more we get to know God as our Father, the more we will know His presence that gives security and brings peace.
Allow me a moment here, to remember my earthly father.
Dad always picked me up from school. We'd go home, just the two of us, and continue our day: he in his study scratching out an award-winning sermon (at least in my eyes) on a long yellow notepad, and me trailing around the house from my station of the orange-velvet rocking chair in the living room. Dad was present. I could walk into his office and chat, and head to the backyard to jump on the trampoline, knowing - Dad was home. All was well and right with the world, even when it wasn't, because my father was present. If anything happened, Dad would be there, ready to fix, steady, and make things right.
In middle school I memorized Psalm 23 - a recitation required for Bible class. At school we read only from the King James, also Dad's favorite. Sometimes I'd hear him give an encouraging word prophetically from the pulpit, and he'd slip into that tongue of which he was so familiar and the goosebumps would arise. Old English, to me, sounded so fatherly and wise, coming from a higher place in the world, making its way into hearts gathered at a little chapel in the middle of town.
Today, and many of the last month of days, I've been reading the same treasured Psalm from one of my father's favorite King James Bibles where "Rev. Howard J. Ridings" is imprinted in gold on the cover of the old, black book. Well used and worn, yet the words on the page still speak. They speak of a Father who is present and benevolent. The kind who works, yet is available, like Dad was in his home office. The kind who watches over and leads and supports and provides. A good Father who teaches us to rest and play by trusting in Him, trusting that He is present and watching over His children.
I want to know this Father more. Don't you? I'm practicing praying more directly to Him, picturing Him hovering near - as my Father forever. Maybe you will want to join me in entering Psalm 23 - the Psalm of the Shepherd - and practice resting in His presence as the Father fathers you and me.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul
Psalm 23:1-3, KJV
A Prayer of Response to Psalm 23:1-3(a)
Father in heaven, my home, I am connected to You.
You are my Father and I am Your daughter (Your son). We are connected - first and foremost.
You are leading me, taking me to pastures of green, soft, growing grasses.
There, beside, I find waters still enough to enter. There, You restore me.
This living water that's run down from high mountaintops is giving what I need. Healing is happening here; water that ran around Your throne carries and supplies Your provision all the way down to me.
Here, I am wrapped around on every side, enveloped by Your gaze that gives life, and secures me within.
You, Father, have led me here; I receive Your refreshing. (Pause in His presence)
Shepherd of my soul, Father of my heart, You are present. You are home.
All is alright with the world, even when things are hard, because You are near.
Friends, if you are weary, read this Scripture and prayer again and soak in the truth that the Father is for you, and, because He is present, still waters that provide peace and provision are always available to you.