Early one morning recently, as I contemplated the new year stretching ahead, these words came into my heart; “Lead me”. It felt as if the plea came from my innermost self, a cry for the certainty of a safe path ahead, through what may be dark days. I realised how much I have needed to hold on to an assurance that there is a way forward, with God, amid the angst and unrest that seems to have gripped our world. Maybe you feel this way too. It is clear that none of us knows what will come our way in the months ahead. We have learned from the recent past that trials of all kinds can suddenly and unexpectedly appear. This time the issue may not be a pandemic, but it could be personal ill health, a dramatic change in finances, or the painful challenges of family breakdown.
But whatever the days ahead bring, we can regularly repeat this heart-felt request; “Lead me, Lord.” It will never fall on deaf ears. These scriptures, to suggest but a few, make good prayers:
Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness … make Your way straight before me (Psalm 5:8).
Lead me in paths of righteousness (Psalm 23:3).
Teach me Your way, O Lord, and lead me in a smooth path (Psalm 27:11).
Since You are my rock and my fortress, therefore for Your name’s sake, lead me and guide me (Psalm 31:3).
As I pondered on these verses, I thought also about the prayer the Lord taught us, and which we repeat so regularly: ‘Lead us, not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one’ (Matthew 6:13). Jesus’ kindness and understanding struck me afresh, He had been led by the Holy Spirit into a situation of great temptations in the wilderness. He was tested to the extreme by the evil one, but He was able to resist all the temptations. He was strong and sinless, defeating the enemy with the dynamic sword of words of Scripture. But Jesus, in His total understanding of our human frailty, recognised that we would find all testing very hard (temptation for us is just so attractive), so He warned us to add to our prayer for God’s leading, an addendum; “Save us, Lord, from situations in which we might fall into the traps of the enemy’s temptations.”
So, as we each walk forward into whatever this new year brings, let’s keep our hearts open for His response to our prayer, “Lead us, Lord.” His words in Scripture will help us, and illuminate the way ahead, just as the words of Scripture can help us in prayer. Let’s renew our desire to behave, to speak, and even to think, according to His ways and example, so we will truly be those who shine in the world’s darkness with our small flicker of light reflecting the magnificence of Jesus, the Light of the World.
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