A Prudent Prayer

“So teach us to number our days, that we might gain a heart of wisdom.”—Psalm 90:12 (NKJV) 

When the caller identified herself as a nurse from our local hospital, I’m pretty sure I stopped breathing. I physically shook my body, trying to clear the shock from my mind so I could comprehend the words she was saying.

“The radiologist found something on your mammogram. It might just be a blurry spot, but we need you to come in so we can check it out.” Long pause. “You might want to bring someone with you.”

For most of my adult life I’ve been terrified of “catching” cancer. My mom, my grandmother, my aunt, and my mother-in-law all died from cancer. My sister, an uncle, and two other aunts had it. I know how horrible cancer can be.

So as I made an appointment for the next day, all I could think was, I can’t die. I need more time. My husband needs me. My child needs me. I need more time, God!

I was more patient with my five-year-old that week. I was more loving with my husband. Instead of getting on our mobile devices at night before bed, we laid close to each other and talked. Really talked.

I was numbering my days and suddenly my priorities were clear. I didn’t have time for petty drama on social media. I didn’t want to be mad or sad or upset with anyone. I wanted peace and love to overshadow every negative thing in my world.

Have you ever had experienced clarity like that? It would be amazing if that kind of wisdom occurred naturally, but usually it comes at a cost: cancer scares, middle-of-the-night phone calls, the loss of a loved one.

The Psalmist wisely asks God to teach him to number his days—a prudent prayer for all of us. Don’t wait for tragedy; acknowledge the brevity of life and use the wisdom you gain to focus on the important things.

DIG: Read all of Psalm 90.

DISCOVER: What does the Psalmist teach us about the eternity of God and the frailty of humans in this chapter?

DISPLAY: Consider how knowing the date and time of your death would change the way you live. Then make a list of three things that you can work on this week.

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