Do you ever experience days when you feel a heaviness of soul? On days like that, I know I must be intentional about my thoughts and actions. If I’m not, I will soon end out in a pit such as David speaks of. “He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure” (Psalm 40:2, ESV).
On a recent morning, I went through a mental battle. Wanting to avoid the horrible pit. I literally had to make myself get up, out of bed. The single-digit temps were not enticing me outside. Yet I needed some exercise to help stimulate the release of dopamine and endorphins in my body. I got on my treadmill with my prayer cards. But I was forcing and fighting thoughts, “How can I even talk with my Lord when I’m in such a sour state? Won’t my prayers be shallow and vain if they are coming from a dutiful checklist?” Then an old song came to mind. One I taught my children when they were young but haven’t heard in years.
A Deliberate Choice
The song lyrics speak of, “put[ting] on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” There is an appropriate garment for entering the presence of the Lord. I had to choose to put on the proper garment just as I would if I were to go outside in the freezing temps. Those lyrics come directly from the prophet Isaiah. “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me. . . to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified” (Isaiah 61:1-3, KJV).
The song rushed into my mind and I sang it again and again as I walked the treadmill. Joy filled my heart taking away the heaviness, replacing it with sincere praise and adoration, and then I was able to approach the throne and pray.
The psalmist shares explicit instruction on how to rightly approach the Lord. “Come before his presence with singing. . . enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless his name” (Psalm 100:2b and 4, NKJV).
Dear Reader, let me encourage you to sing even when you don’t feel like you can. The Holy Spirit will help lift your weight as you genuinely come to the presence of the Almighty with singing, thanksgiving, and praise.
The first video clip is of the song that prompted me to put on the right garment that morning. The second is new to me but I found it while searching for the other and it speaks of the same truths. I hope one or both minister to someone today who finds themselves near the edge of a miry clay pit.
Father God, thank You for teaching us through Scripture the proper way to come into Your presence. You have given simple instructions. Forgive me for making it more difficult than it needs to be. Thank You for inspiring the Psalmist and Isaiah to write the words of long ago. Thank You for the people who put them to new melodies in more recent times. The grace of Jesus is a beautiful gift. I’m grateful for the Holy Spirit who dwells within me. Hallelujah and amen!
I am a follower of Jesus Christ, grandmother, great-grandmother, foster care parent, and trauma survivor. I enjoy sipping tea, writing devotionals, prayers, short stories, and unburdening my heart to the Lord. Check the About page if you want to read more of my story.
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