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Psalm 91: When God lifts you up on his lap

Sidebar Richard Lauersdorf

Her little hand swatted my newspaper aside. “Grandpa, I talking to you,” she said.

My granddaughter wanted to climb up on my lap and tell me something important. I was engrossed in my paper and hadn’t noticed her. Not so with our heavenly Father. He wants us on his lap, pouring out our hearts to him in prayer.

A father who hears his children’s prayers

What varied pictures the psalmist used in Psalm 91 to describe the God to whom we pray. “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust” (v. 2). Like some safe place to which we hurry when a tornado approaches, so God is our safe shelter in the storms of life. Like some impenetrable fortress bristling with weapons, so God is our strong defender against the onslaughts of Satan. Moreover, he is the “LORD,” the God of grace who keeps all his promises, especially the one promising the Savior.

But not everyone trusts our heavenly Father as a refuge and fortress, the psalmist reminds us. Quoting the Lord, he writes, “Because he loves me, . . . I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation” (vv. 14-16). Prayer is the blessed privilege God grants only to those who love him and revere him as their Savior. They love him because he has worked trust in him in their hearts. Now as believing children, they climb up on his welcoming lap and pour out their hearts to him. They do not have to struggle to gain his attention. “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry,” another psalmist reminds us (Psalm 34:15).

A father who answers his children’s prayers

As believers, we have no guarantee that we’ll never face enemies or troubles. What we do have is a loving Father who hears our anguished prayers and protects us. When life’s troubles make us feel like birds pursued by a hunter or people trapped in a besieged city, we can crawl up on our Father’s lap and feel his strong arms encircling us. When Satan and his minions seek to inject their venom into faith’s veins like poisonous snakes, our Father will send his holy angels to wrap a protective shield around us (vv. 3-12).

Morning, noon, and night those angels walk with us as celestial bodyguards sent by the Lord. What a comfort it is to know that through all the changing scenes of life, our loving Father not only hears our prayers but also answers them according to his wisdom.

Can we see in the psalmist’s words the hint of the Father’s answer to another prayer, “Deliver us from evil”? Can we even imagine what it will be like to have every evil of body and soul eliminated when our Father welcomes us into his heavenly kingdom? Then there will be no more need for prayer. Instead, it will be endless praise to him whose love has brought us there.

Other psalms for when God lifts you up on his lap: Psalms 54, 61, and 86.

This is the fifth article in a six-part series about the psalms’ guidance for our daily lives. Read the psalms with FIC in a six-month Bible reading series.

Author: Richard Lauersdorf
Volume 110, Number 05
Issue: May 2023

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This entry is part 2 of 63 in the series bible-study

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