Rev. Mark Johnson
April 18, 2021

Scripture: Psalm 42

Secondary Source: Soul Reset Junius B. Dotson Upper Room Books Nashville 2019

Theme/Thesis: Prayer is a foundational tool for a “soul reset.” Whatever our lifeline and prayer language, God is listening…God is responding.

Main Points

In the darkest days of our lives (and the best days!), we all need a lifeline.

  • A lifeline is whatever connects to God and the rest of the world.
  • Discovering a lifeline – discovering a new way to appreciate and love God, can help facilitate a “soul reset.”
  • King’s David’s lifeline was the Temple. In Psalm 42, he reminisces about and laments the loss of days connected to God through the Temple.

In the absence of a lifeline, even King David falls on dark days and is searching for answers- “My whole being is depressed” (Psalm 42:6).

  • Depression, anxiety, and other mental health diagnoses are a complex web of symptoms and causes – including faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications, and medical problems.
  • In the face of such complexity, it would be offensive to suggest prayer as an easy fix or catchall solution.
  • At Broadway UMC, we believe in medicine. We believe in therapy (evidenced by our partnership with Your Story Matters, a therapy group operating out of our building). We believe in spiritual direction and practice. All of these things are necessary for holistic care.

As a spiritual practice, prayer can be a lifeline.

  • Prayer heightens one’s sense of security and sense of well-being, and facilitates our shared quest for meaning, purpose, and forgiveness.
  • Prayer is powerful.

Prayer can take many forms.

  • When spoken prayer does not come naturally, sometimes we have to think outside the box.
  • Prayer can be walking a dog, being outdoors, enjoying music and movies, writing in a journal, reading a good book, working in a garden.
  • In all of these moments, God is sharing the experience – God is listening and God is responding.

In 1964, jazz musician John Coltrane recorded the seminal album, “A Love Supreme.” The album was the culmination of a spiritual awakening following the darkest days of his life.

Music, poetry, and writing became his lifeline. “A Love Supreme” was based on a poem Coltrane wrote by the same name. In the last track “Psalm,” he plays the poem word for word on his saxophone.

In the poem, Coltrane claims, “all vibrations lead to God” – Thought waves–heat waves–sound waves–all vibrations–all prayers lead to God.
A Love Supreme (continued from page 2)

Call to Action and Response
Reflect on your prayer life. How are you connected to God and the world around you? Thinking outside the box, what prayer practices can help you facilitate your own “soul reset” this spring? When you’ve fallen on darker days in the past, what has been your lifeline? And if you’re experiencing dark days now, who can you reach out to for support. Your pastors are a good start! And always, God is listening – God is responding.

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