He Lifts Up My Head!
by: Guadalupe Savariz de Alvarado
Scripture Reading: “But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.”
Can we live without flowers? Flowers are one of the most beautiful things God created. Sometimes we may think He created them just for us. They give us a happy feeling. When we see how simple but yet how fantastic flowers are, we can’t help thinking that God is still in control and all is right with the world.
The truth is that in the book of nature we can find beautiful messages that speak to us about God and His love.
Sunflowers are beautiful and popular flowers. It is one of most widely used flowers for decoration, and we
can find them decorating plates, tablecloth, paintings, walls, etc. I would like to consider with you three beautiful lessons regarding our prayer life that we can learn from sunflowers.
Lesson # 1. The sunflower keeps its corolla upright.
The pain and suffering present in this world of sin threaten to break our spirit and cause us to sink in despair. But the Lord in His love and mercy supports His children and keeps their heads up in even the most difficult circumstances.
In the Bible we find a beautiful statement of faith in the midst of adversity. “But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my Glory, the One who lifts my head high.” (Psalm 3:3)
David wrote this psalm while fleeing from his son Absalom. His son was willing to do anything to get
power, and David was betrayed by his most loyal servants. Even the people with him said, “God will not
deliver him” (Psalm 3:2). Realizing the danger, David decided to flee (2 Samuel 15:14). Despite the deep
spiritual, emotional and physical pain, David expressed His faith in God, saying with conviction, He is “the One who lifts my head high”
This is true, not only in the past, not only for David. He lifts up our heads! This means that we can move
forward with faith, courage, strength and security, because His power sustains us and makes us overcomers.
Sometimes the burdens of life, the pain, the sorrow, the consequences of our past mistakes, become a
burden. Circumstances may nearly break our faith. Yet we can say with David, “I lift up my eyes to the
mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and
earth.” (Psalm 121:1, 2 NIV)
Psalm 121 is an encouraging promise. The Almighty is there. When in pain, in anguish, alone, we can lift
our eyes and seek Him in confidence because He is ready to answer our cry.
David testifies to the mighty hand of God that rescued him from sinking into despair when he says, “He
lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” (Psalm 40:2, 3 NIV)
God held on to David. He lifted up Elijah, Daniel, Joseph, and a sinful woman. He will also hold on to us!
Lesson #2. Sunflowers follow the path of the sun.
Keep your eyes on Jesus (see Hebrews 12:1-3). Jesus said of Himself, “I am the light of the world. Whoever
follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life!” (John 8:12 KJV)
There is power in keeping our eyes on God. Do you remember the story of Peter walking on the water? (See
In the midst of the storm, Peter was happy to see his Master coming toward him and the other disciples.
With joy, he said to Jesus, “If it’s you, . . .tell me to come to you on the water.” (Matt. 18:28 NIV)
He wanted to be closer to his Master. He recognized Christ’s supernatural power and His power over the
waves. Jesus called Peter, and at the height of the storm, with faith he got out of the boat, putting one foot then the other out of the boat. With confidence, he fixed his sight on Jesus and began to walk. He kept his eyes on his Master, and he walked. He was doing something supernatural, something impossible! At that moment he showed great faith! Who of us would have dared to step out of the boat in such a storm?
Peter had faith, and he walked on water. But our human nature is fragile. In our own strength we cannot do
the impossible. When we look away from Jesus, like Peter we start to sink.
We should keep this lesson fresh in our minds, because no matter how many years we are in the church, no
matter what our position, no matter how victorious we were in the past, every day we must again fasten our
eyes on our Savior. We cannot risk looking away from Him and falling.
“Looking unto Jesus, Peter walks securely; but as in self-satisfaction he glances back toward his
companions in the boat, his eyes are turned from the Savior. The wind is boisterous. The waves roll high,
and come directly between him and the Master; and he is afraid. For a moment Christ is hidden from his
view and his faith gives way. He begins to sink. But while the billows talk with death, Peter lifts his eyes from the angry waters and, fixing them upon Jesus, cries, “Lord, save me!” (Desire of Ages, p. 381)
The storm symbolizes the troubles, the evil with all its destructive power, all those things that threaten our spiritual, material or emotional life. In difficult times, it is easy to look at our problems, frustrations, pain, and disappointments—to focus on them, sinking into pessimism, negativity, and self-pity.
Perhaps we are like the Children of Israel. We know their story well. God brought them out of Egypt;
evidence of His presence was with them day and night, but in the midst of a crisis, they turned their gaze
from God and became discouraged. After hearing the reports of the spies, they said, “Let us get organized;
we will appoint a captain and return to Egypt!” (See Num. 14:3, 4)
Keeping our eyes on Jesus in the midst of tribulation requires a great deal of faith, the ability…
• To hold on to the promises even when the future looks uncertain. (Isa. 43:2; Psalm 46:1-3)
• To persevere even if all you see day after day are dark clouds. (Job 1:20-21)
• To remember that God has control of our lives and all things work together for good. (Rom. 8:28)
• To focus day by day on the security of God’s love and mercy. (Isa. 55:10; Jer. 31:3)
“We may keep so near to God that in every unexpected trial our thoughts will turn to Him as naturally as the flower turns to the sun.” (Prayer, p. 11)
3. Sunflowers resemble the sun
“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (John 13:15 NIV)
When we look at sunflowers, we notice that they resemble the sun. That should be our goal in our Christian
life—to be like Jesus, the Sun of Righteousness. His life was a sublime example of the power of a life of
prayer. Consider the following scene from His life.
They [the disciples] found Him absorbed in communion with God. Seeming unconscious of their
presence, He continued praying aloud. The Saviour’s face was irradiated with a celestial
brightness. He seemed to be in the very presence of the Unseen, and there was a living power in
His words as of one who spoke with God… this incessant labor often left Him so utterly wearied
that His mother and brothers, and even His disciples, had feared that His life would be sacrificed.
But as He returned from the hours of prayer that closed the toilsome day, they marked the look of
peace upon His face, the sense of refreshment that seemed to pervade His presence….He came
forth, morning by morning, to bring the light of heaven to men. The disciples had come to
connect His hours of prayer with the power of His words and works. Now, as they listened to His
supplication, their hearts were awed and humbled. As He ceased praying, it was with a conviction
of their own deep need that they exclaimed, “Lord, teach us to pray.” (Prayer, p. 289)
They understood that true prayer has a life-transforming power. Prayer envelops the soul with power, grace, and peace, and empowers it for service to humanity.
Four characteristics of the prayer life of Jesus
1. Complete dependence: Every moment Christ’s life was connected with His Father. Prayer should be a
continuous experience in our lives. In every moment it is proper to pray—in the privacy of our room, on the street, at work, with our eyes closed or open, walking or kneeling, in joy, in trials, in sorrow, or in pain.
Prayer is the breath of the soul that immediately puts us in touch with the infinite Source of Life. No whisper of our soul leaves without being heard by our loving heavenly Father. We must persevere in fervent prayer as Christ did. We should not rise from our knees until our heart is empty before God and His sweet presence has filled our hearts. May He be our role model. “As a man He supplicated the throne of God, till His humanity was charged with a heavenly current that connected humanity with divinity. Receiving life from God, He imparted life to men.” (Prayer, p. 173)
2. Aware of His condition: Jesus had accepted humanity with all its frailty. This meant He was subject to
passions, temptations and failure. The weight of humanity was on His shoulders. “Christ our Saviour was
tempted in all points like as we are, yet He was without sin. He took human nature, being made in fashion as a man, and His necessities were the necessities of a man. He had bodily wants to be supplied, bodily
weariness to be relieved. It was by prayer to His Father that He was braced for duty and for trial.” (Prayer, p. 171)
He was in communion with his Father to receive power, wisdom and strength to overcome satanic legions
struggling to overthrow Him. How ignorant are we of our condition that we do not realize that Satan is like a roaring lion seeking us, seeking whom he may devour, and that the struggle is not against flesh and blood. We are anesthetized by the pleasures and comforts of this world without realizing that our eternal life is in danger.
“What can the angels of heaven think of poor helpless human beings who are subject to temptation, when
God’s heart of infinite love yearns toward them, ready to give them more than they can ask or think, and yet they pray so little and have so little faith? The angels love to bow before God; they love to be near Him…. And yet the children of earth, who need so much the help that God only can give, seem satisfied to walk without the light of His Spirit, the companionship of His presence.” (Prayer, p. 25)
We should recognize that we are “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” (Rev. 3:17) We need to go to
the feet of God daily to be covered by the righteousness of Christ. We need His Spirit to walk victorious in this world and fulfill our mission. If we prostrate ourselves before Him in sincere humility, acknowledging our weakness, we will be strong in Him. (2 Cor. 12:9)
3. Deep love for humanity: His Heart was full of tenderness and compassion for the lost. He often spent
entire nights praying for the tempted. His life alternated between the mountain and the multitude. Prayer and work for souls took His time.
Yet do we show His compassion, or are we unperturbed when we see the pain and suffering of others? How
many around us are dying in despair, begging from a dark room to find meaning in their lives, longing to
hear words of love and hope, in need of forgiveness and salvation? We must mingle with people, love them
and show sympathy in order to discover their needs and bring them in fervent prayer to the Father in heaven.
Jesus prayed for those who felt no need of prayer. He wept for those who felt no need for tears. He prayed
for those who had not yet been born. To be like Jesus means to live a life of prayer and work for humanity.
4. Private prayer: Jesus “…had select places of prayer. He loved to hold communion with His Father in
the solitude of the mountain.” (Prayer, p. 173)
Each of us should have her own mountain, a place to be alone with God, as Jesus did. It may be in nature or any secluded place where we can be free to open our soul to God, to confess our sins and fears, share our joys and most intimate desires, without interruptions. The worries of our heart are a matter of attention for our Father, and we can never wear Him out with our requests. He is waiting with infinite compassion for us to bring Him our burdens. In the quiet and tranquility of our souls, God wants to speak to us.
“Jesus, when preparing for some great trial or some important work, would resort to the solitude of the
mountains and spend the night in prayer to His father.” (Prayer, p. 173)
Nothing can replace the power of private prayer. “Consecrate yourself to God in the morning; make this
your very first work. Let your prayer be, ‘Take me, Oh Lord, as wholly Thine. I lay all my plans at Thy feet. Use me today in Thy service. Abide with me and let all my work be wrought in Thee.’ This is a daily matter. Each morning consecrate yourself to God for that day. Surrender all your plans to Him to be carried out or given up as His providence shall indicate. Thus day by day you may be giving your life into the hands of God, and thus your life will be molded more and more after the life of Christ.” (Steps to Christ, pp. 69, 70)
“When this is in truth the experience of the Christian, there is seen in his life simplicity, a humility,
meekness and lowliness of heart, that show to all with whom he associates that he has been with Jesus and
learned from Him.” (Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 129, 130)
In our prayer life, it is a privilege to receive deep joy and to delight in the Lord’s presence.
The story is told that once during wartime a battalion adopted a new battle cry: “Fight with the Light,”
because their country had supplied them with powerful searchlights. These searchlights provided a blaze of
light during night battles. The presence of the light meant the difference between life and death for the
troops. We may do well to adopt this battle cry, “Fight with the Light,” in our Christian life, as we find
ourselves in a spiritual warfare, the Great Controversy between good and evil.
God in His love and mercy has given us powerful lights to illuminate our path and help us overcome
temptation. The Holy Bible, the Spirit of Prophecy, and nature show us His will.
This morning we have received messages of light from these three sources. So let us “Fight with the light”
that we have received. Let us not forget the three spiritual truths we have learned today.
1. Our Lord will lift up our head. His mighty hand will lift up your head, and by walking forward you will
2. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Do not be dismayed. Do not be distracted by the storms, the problems around
you. He has power to calm the storms.
3. To be like Jesus should be our goal. Let us determine each day to live as Jesus lived and to pray as Jesus prayed.