A Prayer for Safety – Psalm 16

Laurie, my friend for more than four decades and my only bridesmaid who wasn’t a family member, easily tucks into the rhythm of my life when we’re together.

She sat with me in Max Porter’s last week, holding a hot drink in one hand and sweeping the air with the other as we caught up on our families’ news. Laurie is a missionary to Uganda, and our discussion led us to her personal safety when she’s away.

My mistake

At one point I harped on a conclusion I’d made from Scripture, that the apostles never prayed for God to keep them safe.

We remembered that in their letters they asked their readers to pray they would be bold in their speaking about Jesus, but never that they’d stay safe. They gave accounts of harrowing experiences as they traveled and preached, and seemed to expect risks with the job.

My presumption was, if the apostles didn’t ask God for safety, then neither should we.

How could I have been so smug, presuming I knew everything the early followers of Jesus brought before God?

The truth

Their teachings and prayers, like those of Jesus, centered on historical scriptures. Here’s an ancient psalm that asks God for safety.


Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.’

I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. (italics mine)

Psalm 16:1, 8-9 ESV

Scriptural takeaway

My heart, my whole being, rejoices because he is always with me, he is my refuge, I will not be shaken, and he will not abandon me.

The truth is, safety is important. Without it, my friend and I would live in constant fear. The need for security drives us in our seeking and following of God and his ways, into his place of refuge where there is peace and safety no matter where we are on this planet.

A Bible for a Child – Deuteronomy 11:18-19

Simon’s eyes lit up when he saw me at our regular table at Max Porter’s this week. He’s my five-year-old grand nephew, and he knows his auntie often brings interesting things to share at our weekly lunches.

This time I brought the new children’s NASB Adventure Bible.

Since I volunteered to be on the Bible Gateway blogger list as a #BibleGatewayPartner , I was offered a free copy to review. I accepted knowing Simon would probably agree to help me.

It turns out I was right

He was delighted to get his hands on it. A very discerning lad, he immediately asked, “where’s the table of contents?” This wasn’t at all what I expected his first question to be. I helped him find it and explained the meaning of chapter and verse numbers (until he was done listening to explanations).

We discovered a page that lists stories about children in the Bible. He skimmed and recognized quite a few of them, like the story of David and the giant.

He soon figured out how to locate the Genesis account of Cain and Abel, put his finger on the chapter number, and started reading it to me. Again this boy surprised me. I hadn’t expected one so young to be able to read the New American Standard Bible version.

You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul . . . You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Deuteronomy 11:18-19 ESV

Simon laughed when he read the interpretation of the second commandment – that we must not worship anyone or anything but God, not a sports hero and not a skateboard. That was on the The Ten Commandments for Kids page.

Sharing this Bible with Simon reminded me of the great blessing my Bible has been throughout my life. I received my first Bible at the age of nine, and its words are seeds that took root early and continue to comfort, instruct, and encourage me.

Thank you, Bible Gateway, for this opportunity to share my love of the Scriptures with one of my favorite little boys.

-Kathy Sheldon Davis

When You See Troubling Times Ahead, Try This – Philippians 4:5-9

In a previous post I mentioned how singing brings me comfort when I feel my life is spinning out of control. There’s another option, since singing isn’t always appreciated by those nearby. Maybe it will help you like it helps me in times like these.

Imagine you’re on a roller coaster.

Heavy chains rattle as the car drags its anxious passengers to the peak. Pausing at the top, you fight the urge to look down. A child whimpers a few rows back. You know what’s coming . . .

Then you’re descending, more like falling, down the track, and there’s nothing you can do but to hang on.

You’re sure to hear shrieks, maybe even cries, like I did at the Lagoon amusement park near Salt Lake City. But my reaction was unique, according to my older cousin. He said I laughed through the whole ride.

Like I said in my story in Jesus Talked to Me Today, I started believing Jesus was my best friend when I was very young. I don’t believe I was thinking about his presence during the ride, though. I honestly don’t know where my giddiness came from that day.

I’m also at a loss about how God wants me to “love my neighbor as myself” in some situations, but these verses offer clear direction about things I do understand.

Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:5-9 ESV

What I hear is that I need to

  1. Allow people to see what’s reasonable in me.
  2. Instead of giving way to anxiety, I should pray, make requests, and thank God in everything.
  3. Keep my thoughts on what’s true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy, and not on things that are not of God, like those which are divisive, ugly, or degrading.
  4. Practice what I have learned, received, heard and seen in the life and writings of the apostle Paul.

Then the God of peace will be with me, guarding my heart and my mind in Jesus. Isn’t his peace something we so desperately need these days?

When we manage our thinking like the scriptures suggest, the roller coaster of life can still plunge, jerk, and throw us side to side in the seat, but it will be less likely that we’ll be the ones screaming during the ride.

Kathy Sheldon Davis