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.

Confession and Prayer Brings Healing – James 5:13-16

Until a few months ago some of my cousins had been out of touch with each other for decades. When two of them recently moved to Lane County, we arranged to meet at the Camas Country Mill and Bakery. It didn’t take us long to find ourselves delighted with all things old, the ancient schoolhouse with its furnishings and our childhood tales.

As we reconnected, the teasing and silliness escalated until it bordered on being ridiculous. Should people our age act like they’re still thirteen?

I sipped my tea and chased chickpeas around my salad plate until I spotted names, dates, and initials carved on a weathered wall not far from our table. This fascinated me because the boards had been salvaged from the building’s exterior. Diners now enjoy their meal while examining evidence of former students’ vandalism. I traced one date with my finger: 1900.

We were told a few names belong to people, or their descendants, still living in the area.

How would I like my misdeeds put on display for a hundred years, my name listed with those who have damaged public property? I realize they were probably young children, someone else may have been the culprit, or that it may now be considered art or an entertaining story. Still . . .

I don’t like the thought of someone judging me while chewing their sandwich, but maybe bringing my failures into the open is a good thing. Perhaps removing the façade and revealing underlying scars is healthy.

“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:13-16 ESV).

Maybe in the future our descendants will get a good laugh about our misadventures. Hopefully, there will be a lot to admire, too. Like our honesty.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Prayer for Healing in 2018 – James 5:13-16

Don’t laugh if you see me in the pool rolling and turning like a dying goldfish. I’m OK, really. I call this my workout, and it does me a lot of good. Those younger or more athletic probably don’t comprehend how my slow movements qualify as a real workout, but water fitness makes a world of difference to me. When I’m in the water I find myself unburdening my heart, singing, and even dancing as I push against the water.

This week I’ve been reading the book of James, written by one of Jesus’s brothers. Until now I hadn’t seen how confession and other people’s prayers also relate to health.

“Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be  healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:13-16 NIV).

We know it’s important to pray for the salvation of the world, but what about asking for God’s help with the internal battles—with selfishness, fear, greed, idolatry, arrogance, and bitterness? If we confessed these things, maybe the world would become a better place. Certainly humbling ourselves, being open about our problems, and asking others to pray for our health will facilitate healing.

In a few hours 2017 will come to an end and a new year will start. Let’s sharpen our focus in the months ahead, because when we stand righteous before God, our prayers are powerful.

Happy New Year!

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

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