Prayer from the Shadows

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O Jesus,

Thank You that our relationship deepens as You and I walk through shadows together. Ours is no longer a simple stroll along a grassy riverbank but a fusion of spirit and soul. H.D.M. Spence once testified, “Divine shepherding means more than green pastures and still waters; it sometimes means ‘the valley of the shadow of death.’”

During our walk along the paths of righteousness, You revealed Yourself as a Man of sorrows (Isaiah 53:3). At first, I recoiled at the sight, but You continued to draw me closer to show me that oneness with You must include suffering (Philippians 3:10). Wounding and pain are the very pathways to intimacy with You.

Inevitably, I find myself walking through the valley of shadows. As my eyes adjust to the darkness of this crevasse, walls of granite loom over me. This gorge offers no escape from whatever dangers lurk in my imagination. Any forward progress only cuts and narrows, while the overhanging precipice tries to prohibit light from above.

When nighttime falls, I’m especially vulnerable to the murmurs of my hidden adversary. This venomous snake hisses that I’m here because of a person: a betrayer, a liar, and a perjurious manipulator. In inky blackness, I can see the face of this man and decide he deserves my wrath and qualifies me for bitterness.

As I recoil against the cold ledge of stone, I find that my anger offers no relief. All help must come from You, Jesus, Whose eyes not only see in this darkness but Who is Light incarnate (Psalm 139:12; 1 John 1:5). As I reach for You, You radiate the Father’s glory, and I find that Your light is with me, not around me (Hebrews 1:3; John 1:5,9).

Protect me from evil, if not from pain, and teach me where to direct my hatred (Psalm 121:7). My struggle is not against flesh and blood after all, “but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of darkness” and all “wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Show me how to be angry, yet do so without sin (Ephesians 4:26).

“Be still and know Me,” You say, and I’m aware that You are in no hurry to rush our progress (Psalm 46:10). I’m ready to move out of this season and tell You thus, but You remind me that the one who believes need not be in a hurry (Isaiah 28:16). Only in this valley of shadows can I watch love banish fear and cover a multitude of other sins (1 John 4:18; 1 Peter 4:8).

So now, as we spend time in this dry and weary land, may I turn my eyes away from the darkness at my feet and affix them to the brilliance of Your Face (Psalm 63:1; Hebrews 12:2). Help me to endure the dead of night well, and find the rod of character blossoming on the morrow (Numbers 17:8). You alone are my hope for You are my life (Psalm 71:5).