Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel. The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children – with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the Lord, O my soul. Psalm 103
I have become convinced over the years that one the most needed things that I require from God is right perspective. Faith, hope, love, peace, patience, clarity in prayer and right attitude are all affected by my perspective. When I become myopic, overly focused on myself and what is immediately around me, all of the above is weakened and I can lose my way. But with right perspective, what seemed like a mountain becomes a proper molehill and all the Spirit offers me becomes accessible. So instead of beginning prayer with a list of needs compiled according to my circumstances, I ask for God’s perspective first. It almost always edits that list and changes the landscape.
Psalm 103 has been one of His most effective tools to help me restore right perspective. I was prompted to memorize it and repeat it often to myself. It has been amazingly therapeutic! Composed by David, it is a wonderfully concise exhortation to get my head on straight. He begins with a direct command: Praise the Lord! In his wisdom, he worded it in such a way that I must command myself: “Praise the Lord, O my soul.” And lest I fall into the trap of feebly offering up generalities, he commands me to praise Him for specifics. All His benefits: forgiveness of my sins, healing for my diseases (physical, mental, spiritual), redemption from the pit, a crown of love and compassion, provision of good things, righteousness and justice. That’s quite a list and I cannot repeat it without a shift in the position of my spirit to a place of humble gratitude because He really has done all of those things for me. It’s crazy how a skewed perspective can actually cause me to forget His benefits, but it happens. Thus the need for the command: “forget not”! The psalmist continues with revelation God has given of Himself to His people throughout the ages: His compassion, grace, patience, love, forgiveness, forbearance. I am encouraged by all He has shown of Himself because He never changes. One of my favorite verses in this psalm is verse 14: “…for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” Talk about right perspective! He is so compassionate toward my frailty because He made me and knows me. I am dust! I am short-lived. But He is everlasting and everlastingly Himself. Finally, David exhorts all those that have been created: His angels, His heavenly host, His works…and ME to praise the Lord. I am not the center, I am one of His vast creation and I was made to praise Him. THAT is right perspective. Now I in a better position to pray and recognize His will and walk in it.
I encourage you to spend some time meditating on Psalm 103, maybe even to memorize it. I am confident that it will do you good and keep your perspective healthy.