God’s great ones are launched by prayers of devotion. It’s an essential form of prayer that brings surprising strength and comfort.
A great example is the shepherd-king David who is described in the Bible as a man after God’s own heart. His prayers of devotion fill the Psalms and give us strength and comfort. Repeatedly in the Psalter, we see that when David was treated unjustly, he didn’t seek revenge but submitted to his Sovereign, set his heart’s passion on his Lover, and prayed for his enemies.
At his best David shows us a life of total devotion to love God and all people. In this, we see the spirit of Transforming Union (the T Stage in the CHRIST stages of Journey of the Soul).
The theme of the T Stage is ultimate union with Christ in a life of love for all people, including those who are different than you or difficult. This profound love is enabled by a deep appreciation of the humanity of the Son of God that cultivates intimacy with the Trinity.
We learn the doctrine of one God in three Persons in Help in Discipleship (the H Stage). Now in this culminating stage of mature faith, we live in the presence and power of the Trinity. We find joy, meaning, and power in relating to God as Abba Father, Jesus our Lord and Friend, and Holy Spirit our breath and sustenance.
One of my favorite prayers of David is Psalm 63. It cultivates T Stage spirituality for all of us.
I memorized it many years ago and often recite it or sing it out loud to further my devotion to the Lord. It woos us further and deeper in the journey of our soul, through the CHRIST stages as the Spirit leads, and into greater intimacy with God.
In Psalm 63 David prays with his entire self, using each of his personality functions to love God and others. Then in Psalm 86 he offers his soul to Adonai with a simple prayer of the heart: “O Lord, encircle me, for I love you. . . . To you I lift up my soul” (vv. 1–4, authors’ paraphrase).
Here are steps to use David’s prayer of devotion for strength and comfort:
1. Pray with David: “O Lord, encircle me, for I love you. . . . To you I lift up my soul.”
2. Repeat for each personality function below (e.g., “. . . . I lift up my _____________.”)
3. As you pray, engage your body in prayer by using the suggested hand motions:
- Heart (touch your physical heart)
- Mind (touch your head)
- Feelings (touch your stomach)
- Body (make a muscle with your arms)
- Social connections (move your hands in from your chest and out toward your social environment)
- Soul (bring your hands down toward your waist and lift them up and out like a fountain)
4. Offer your prayer to each member of the Trinity:
- “O Abba, encircle me, for I love you. . . .”
- “O Jesus, encircle me, for I love you. . . .”
- “O Holy Spirit, encircle me, for I love you. . . .”
In each chapter of Journey of the Soul, we recommend specific soul care practices and spiritual disciplines that help you grow in that CHRIST stage.
©️ Bill & Kristi Gaultiere, Journey of the Soul, Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2021. Adapted and used by permission.
Listen to this week’s SoulTalk: In the final of the CHRIST stages, Christ-followers step into Transforming Union with Christ. Those in this stage have their personalities so formed in Jesus, that they live with love for all people. Encounters with others are seen as an opportunity to love God, even difficult ones. Bill and Kristi discuss the potential pitfalls and benefits of this stage, and how it interacts with the other stages.