Just recently, I began to feel prompted to return to an old prayer life habit I once had, long, long ago, in a land before children… 😉 Whenever I was anxious or stressed, I used to pray through this list I had of the Names of God. Well. I’m anxious. And I’m stressed! No time like the present.
The Bible study I’m a part of is studying Genesis right now. I decided to study it in a different version this time because I’ve been really enjoying the fresh set of eyes it gives me. Someone gave me a copy of the New Living Translation about a year ago, and I’m just loving it. ❤ This is what it brought out to me this week that I’d never seen before (just as I had begun to feel prompted to study this!): “At that time people first began to worship the LORD by name.” (Genesis 4:26b)
I think in the NIV, which is what I’ve mostly studied in the past, it says they first began to “call upon the Name of the Lord.” Which is all well and good, but it didn’t quite convey to me the same emphasis by name does. I was just thinking the other day how much respect we convey to someone when we know their name; it’s like saying, “You’re important. You’re important enough for me to remember your name.” And God – has a name. And not just one, no – He has many.
Like I was explaining to my daughter this morning, we all have many names, really. You might call me Carolyn, but my husband calls me Care. My parents call me Carrie, and my brother shouts “HEY CJ!” when I don’t answer to anything else (and I am gifted at tuning out!). My parents also call me by “my daughter,” my husband may say, “my wife,” my kids call me “Mom,” and my aunts and uncles call me “my niece.” Some define me. Some display relationship with me. They all describe me.
God’s names are the same. They designate and describe and define Him, and they are one of many ways we can get to know who He really is. These are names people have called Him because of what He has done in their lives or what they have seen Him do in the world. His names are monuments by which to remember His actions (to remind us even that He is active!), which we humans too easily forget. They are handholds for us to grip Him by – He is vast, far vaster than any of His names, but they give us something we can hold onto.
I am going to spend 63 days (and have already started truth be told! This post is a little late) praying and studying the Names of God. I am going to journal it here, where I can come back to it and look at it again when I need to. You of course are welcome to join me! My posts will be short – maybe a paragraph or two – and focused exclusively on a single Name. Just a little seed of thought to water (meditate on) and allow to grow throughout the day. 🙂
And what’s a story like this without God inside and out? When I decided to do this, I thought I would stop at 30 days because that seemed a daunting enough commitment to me. BUT. God gently pointed out to me that I started exactly 9 weeks before Christmas. Studying 63 names. I don’t believe God does these sorts of things on accident. He knows I have loved Christmas, that it has often been a spiritually rich season for me as I meditate on His love, but these last few years have been dry. It’s like this – growing up, we always had live Christmas trees, the kind you have to water or they’ll dry up and drop their needles; well, my Christmases have been dropping their proverbial needles, and not because they’ve been any different than in years past but because I’ve been different – too busy. Unwatered. This year, God has put a full watering can in my hands and is nudging me toward the tree! I think He loves our Christmases together, too. ❤
So, all that to say I’ve given up my fear of committing and decided to dive into 63 days of worshipping God by name! 63 days of remembering who He is and why I have no need for worry. Who’s with me? 😀 Let’s go.
Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?Luke 12:22-26