Legacy: United in prayer
Read: Psalm 133
“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”
“Amen.” As I pray with my kids just before school or as I tuck them in at night, we often utter this word at the end. It simply means, ‘so be it.’ More than just helping us know when a prayer is coming to an end, it is an opportunity to agree with the prayers of others. It is an expression of unity.
Over the past four weeks, we have been exploring how we can sow seeds of faith in the lives of our children. We have looked at the power of the home to cultivate a seedbed for faith. We have looked at how we can be intentional in planting ourselves close to Jesus. We have looked at the importance of being real and the influence we can have as we share our journey of faith. And we have looked at how we need to help our children discover the true vine, and what it means to belong to his family, the Church.
Intertwined amongst all these ideas is the importance of prayer. Prayer is pivotal.
Today’s psalm looks specifically at unity, with that often quoted verse: “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (v1). This psalm, written by King David, is one of the ‘psalms of ascent’ that was sung as pilgrims ascended the road to Jerusalem to attend festivals. It would have been sung as people from across the nation gathered on their pilgrimage – young and old, rich and poor – reminding them that they were family.
The use of the word “good” suggests being pleasing to God, while “pleasant” has the connotation of being pleasing to us. Some things are good but not pleasant and some things are pleasant but not good, but unity is both good and pleasant.
And then we are given two beautiful instagrammable pictures of unity.
The first is the picture of oil running down Aaron’s beard. Oil was refreshing in the dry and dusty climate. And this was not just any oil but precious oil, suitable for anointing a priest (Exodus 30:22-33). And it was poured in abundance, running from the head, through the beard and down onto the collar of Aaron’s robes. As the High Priest, Aaron’s robe would have had the names of the twelve tribes of Israel sewn into it (Exodus 28:12). The image here is of the oil cascading down, bringing refreshment on the people of God.
The second image is the dew from Mount Hermon falling on Mount Zion. Mount Hermon, in the north, was the highest mountain in Israel, where dew was common. In contrast, Mount Zion is where Jerusalem and the temple were situated. It was a tiny mountain in comparison and was located in the southern part of Israel receiving very little dew, especially in the summer.
The picture here, is of the cool and refreshing dew of Mount Hermon refreshing the hot and dry Mount Zion. And again the fact that Hermon in the north and Zion in the south are connected in this psalm, paints a picture of unity.
This week, we remember that it is not just about what we can practically do as parents to pass on faith but fundamentally, we need to be praying for our children. This can seem like a solitary task but this psalm is a reminder to invite others to unite with us and pray.
Both of these vivid images in this psalm remind us firstly that blessing comes from above. The oil and the dew symbolise the Holy Spirit. The same word is translated as ‘running down’ in regard to the oil, and ‘falling’ in regard to the dew, showing us that ultimately all blessings come from God and that we need to keep our eyes set on him. And secondly, these images remind us that God gives his blessing where there is unity.
So let’s invite others – grandparents, uncles and aunts, church grannies and youth workers, to partner with us in praying for our children – in lifting one great mighty Amen!
As a family
Come together as a family to pray this week. Maybe just for five minutes, but pray for each of you, including adults, that you would all be growing closer to God and would follow him all the days of your lives.
You could make it fun by blowing bubbles up to heaven each time someone prays, or batting a ball as your prayer for God to catch.
We can help each other
Share ideas and learn from each other so we can all succeed in inspiring faith in our homes.
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