Praying in Three Tenses

 

     Humans speak of life in three tenses—past, present, and future.  In Psalm 85, as a son of Korah recounts the past, addresses the present, and looks to the future, he ever looks in faith to the timeless One—the great I AM.

     As he reviews the past, he offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving with his lips.  “Lord, You have been favorable to Your land; You have brought back the captivity of Jacob.  You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people; You have covered all their sin.  You have taken away all Your wrath; You have turned from the fierceness of Your anger” (vv. 1-3).

     As he ponders the present, he petitions Jehovah for rich spiritual blessings—reconciliation, joy, mercy, and salvation.  “Restore us, O God of our salvation and cause Your anger toward us to cease.  Will You be angry with us forever?  Will You prolong Your anger to all generations?  Will You not revive us again that Your people may rejoice in You?  Show us Your mercy, Lord, and grant us Your salvation” (vv. 4-7).

     As he faces the possibilities of the future, he affirms his confidence in God’s goodness upon those who remain faithful to Him.  “I will hear what God the Lord will speak for He will speak peace to His people and to His saints; but let them not turn back to folly.  Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him that glory may dwell in our land.  Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed.  Truth shall spring out of the earth and righteousness shall look down from heaven.  Yes, the Lord will give what is good; and our land will yield its increase.  Righteousness will go before Him and shall make His footsteps our pathway” (vv. 8-13).

     There is no better day than today for us to imitate this template for prayer—review your past and thank God for His many blessings; reflect upon your present and beseech Him for improved spiritual health; ponder upon your future and express your absolute confidence in God’s unfailing goodness. 

     Pray in all three tenses.

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Author: jchowning

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