you stick with us through all the stages and turns of life.
Help us to be loyal to you, today, whatever the season,
to be open to your mercies and responsive to your calls.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; your rod and your staff—they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
(Psalm 23: 1-6)
We have arrived at the last reflection on our special journey in discernment. Some of our questions may be answered while new queries will surely have sprouted. In a very real sense, our discernment of God’s will is a daily challenge and a lifelong quest.
The twenty-third Psalm is an all-weather prayer which captures the changing moods and seasons on such a journey. A man was ill in hospital and as time would tell, he was in the final days of his life. A doctor stopped at his bed and asked the usual questions to test his level of consciousness: ‘What is your name?’ and ‘When were you born?’ The doctor then asked, ‘Where are you now?’ to which the patient replied, ‘I’m living in the twenty-third Psalm.’ Conscious or not, ill or in good health, young or old, the twenty-third Psalm is a good place to stay.
Pastor and counsellor, Charles Allen, writes about how to make this Psalm our permanent address. A man who had climbed from the bottom of his company to become the president appeared to be successful yet he had become tense, worried and sick. Finally, one of his physicians suggested that he talk with a minister. He approached Charles Allen who describes the essence of his counsel:
“We talked of how his physicians had given him prescriptions and he had taken them. Then I took a sheet of paper and wrote out my prescription for him. I prescribed the twenty-third Psalm, five times a day for seven days. I insisted that he take it just as I prescribed. He was to read it the first thing when he awakened in the morning. Read it carefully, meditatively, and prayerfully. Immediately after breakfast, he was to do exactly the same thing. Also, immediately after lunch, again after dinner, and, finally, the last thing before he went to bed. It was not to be a quick, hurried reading. He was to think about each phrase, giving his mind time to soak up as much of the meaning as possible. At the end of just one week, I promised, things would be different for him.”
Allen concludes, “The twenty-third Psalm is one of the most powerful pieces of writing in existence and it can do marvellous things for any person. I have suggested this to many people and in every instance which I know of it being tried it has produced results….The twenty-third Psalm is a pattern of thinking, and when a mind becomes saturated with it, a new way of thinking and a new life are the result… One could memorize it in a short time… But its power is not in memorizing the words but rather in thinking the thoughts.”
Meditate on the twenty-third Psalm until a phrase impresses you with new power or a truth seems to come with your name and address written upon it.
What is the Shepherding God calling you to do today?
Selecting a Souvenir
Good Shepherd, accompany us every day and through every circumstance.
Enable us to draw on your rich provision and prove the truth that with you, we have everything that we need.
Thank you for your presence throughout our journey in discernment,
Enable us to follow your leading in all the days ahead.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow us,
all the days of our lives.
And we will live in the house of the Lord,
Copyright © 2007 Geoff Pound Making Life Decisions
 Charles L Allen, God’s Psychiatry: Healing for the troubled heart and spirit (Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H Revell Company, 1984), 13-14.