Note: For the four weeks of Advent, Tammy Abee Blom’s blog posts will highlight one scripture from the Revised Common Lectionary Year C for each week. A discipline for the week will be suggested. It is in intended the discipline will fit into your daily life and utilize resources you already have on hand. I look forward to sharing this journey with you.
Thirty-nine weeks pregnant with my first child, I shared with my friend, Terry, how nervous I was about giving birth. Primarily my fear sprang from inexperience. I had never delivered a baby before and didn’t know how it would go for me. And birth stories are ubiquitous. All mothers have a story about the mishaps, oddities, and just plain nonsense that can occur during labor and delivery. I was convinced, not one, but all of these could befall me. I was cautiously terrified.
Terry shared words of encouragement and support but most of all, she prayed for me. When Terry called me after the birth of Eve, which I survived with nary a horror story, she said, “I carried your photo in my pocket all day. I knew you were at the hospital, and the baby was on her way. Each time I reached into my pocket, I felt your photo and I prayed for you. I lifted you up in prayer all day long.”
Terry had shared her assurance of God’s love with me, and she had lifted me in prayer. Her actions model Psalm 25. It reads, “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul . . . in you, I trust.” The lifting up is held in tension with the steadfast love of God. The desperation of fear melts away because the one to whom we lift our souls has been and will be faithful.
During this first week of Advent, choose a way to model lifting up in prayer while resting assured in God’s steadfastness. Two suggestions include:
1- Psalm 25 is an acrostic poem with each line beginning with the next letter in the Hebrew alphabet. I recommend writing, “I lift up my soul” vertically on a piece of paper. Use each letter to pray for something in your life for which you need God’s help and/or use the letters to list people in your life who need God’s help. You can create a new acrostic daily or work on the same one all week. This is a good exercise to do while standing in lines or waiting on appointments.
2- Locate a photo of a person, family, or group that you want to lift to God. Consider choosing a photo of yourself. Place the photo on your phone, in your wallet, or carry it in a pocket. Each time you see the photo pray, “To you, O God, I lift these persons knowing you are steadfast and faithful.”
As I prepare my soul for the birth of Jesus, I recall God’s enduring love. As one who believes God is faithful, I lift myself and others to God in prayer.
Tammy Abee Blom is an ordained Baptist minister, regular contributor to BWIM’s blog, mother of two amazing daughters, teacher for children’s Sunday School, and lives in Columbia, South Carolina.