46 And Mary said: My soul praises the greatness of the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 because he has looked with favor on the humble condition of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 because the Mighty One has done great things for me, and his name is holy. 50 His mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear him. 51 He has done a mighty deed with his arm; he has scattered the proud because of the thoughts of their hearts; 52 he has toppled the mighty from their thrones and exalted the lowly. 53 He has satisfied the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering his mercy 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he spoke to our ancestors. 56 And Mary stayed with her about three months; then she returned to her home.
As I have read and prayed over these verses, I have been moved by Mary’s posture of praise. In the previous verses, her cousin Elizabeth calls Mary blessed. Mary’s response is praise to God the Father. She is so awestruck by the glorious sovereignty of the Lord. This leads me to examine my own life and ask myself: how often am I praising God, versus asking, interceding—or even just worrying and calling it prayer?
I doubt I am alone in feeling like my prayer life could be better. I struggle with quiet, focused, and intentional prayer time. I don’t want to suggest that I don’t pray, because I do. But my prayer time is often so structured to help me focus that it lacks space to really sit in God’s presence.
This reality strikes me as I read Mary’s prayer. The emotion and spontaneity of her praise is beautiful. I want to spend time like this in spontaneous wonder and praise when I am talking to the Creator of the universe! And not just in the really big moments. I want to regularly praise God for the way He moves in the everyday moments of my life.
Today we are all preparing to celebrate Christmas day. This year, Christmas may look different than in past years. The very state of the world may make us feel overwhelmed, rather than being awestruck by God’s goodness, grace and sovereignty. Despite our challenges, I pray that we will each find a quiet moment to read Mary’s words and be reminded of the majesty and sovereignty of our Creator and Savior, who suffered far beyond our 2020 experiences so we could have everlasting life. I pray that we will take time on this Christmas Eve to fill our prayers with praise and thanksgiving for the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- What can you do today to take your eyes off the busyness of the season and focus on praising God?
- How can you take this posture of praise into 2021?
Pray and wait on the Lord today, remembering that we celebrate the end of waiting for the Messiah to come as a baby, but still groan in waiting for His return.