Psalm 90:12 is a profound verse, from a collection of sacred hymns and prayers in the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament). The verse reads: " So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." In this brief yet powerful statement, there lies a wealth of wisdom and insight into the human condition, the passage of time, and the pursuit of wisdom.

At its core, Psalm 90:12 is a prayer, a plea to the divine for guidance and understanding. It begins with the invocation "Teach us," signaling a recognition of human limitation and a desire for divine instruction. The psalmist acknowledges that humans are in need of guidance and that we do not possess inherent wisdom or understanding. Instead, wisdom must be imparted to us and taught to us by a higher power.

The specific request to "number our days" carries profound significance. On one level, it refers to the act of counting or measuring our time on Earth. It urges us to be mindful of the brevity and fragility of life and to recognize that our time here is finite and fleeting. By numbering our days, we are prompted to confront our mortality, to reflect on the transient nature of our existence.

This call to number our days also implies a sense of responsibility and stewardship over our time. It encourages us to use our time wisely and to invest it in pursuits that are meaningful and worthwhile. In a world filled with distractions and temptations, it is easy to squander our days on trivial matters or pursuits that ultimately hold little value. Psalm 90:12 challenges us to prioritize wisely and to allocate our time and energy in alignment with our deepest values and aspirations.

Moreover, the act of numbering our days fosters a sense of urgency and intentionality in how we live. When we are acutely aware of the finite nature of our time, we are less likely to procrastinate or delay the things that truly matter. We are compelled to seize the present moment, to make the most of the opportunities that come our way. This sense of urgency infuses our lives with purpose and vitality, motivating us to pursue our goals and aspirations with vigor and determination.

The goal of numbering our days, as articulated in Psalm 90:12, is to "gain a heart of wisdom." This phrase encapsulates the transformative power of wisdom, which is more than mere intellectual knowledge. True wisdom encompasses a deep understanding of life's complexities and a discerning insight into what is truly valuable and meaningful. It involves not only knowing what is right but also having the moral courage to act upon that knowledge.

In the biblical context, wisdom is often equated with reverence for God and adherence to divine laws. It is rooted in a profound sense of awe and humility before the Creator, recognizing our dependence on God for guidance and sustenance. As the Book of Proverbs declares, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Proverbs 9:10). Thus, gaining a heart of wisdom entails cultivating a deep spiritual awareness and attuning to the divine will.

Wisdom also encompasses practical discernment in navigating the complexities of everyday life. It involves making sound decisions and exercising prudence and foresight in our actions. Wisdom enables us to navigate challenges and adversities with grace and resilience and to respond to life's inevitable trials with patience and fortitude. As the apostle James writes, "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you" (James 1:5).

The pursuit of wisdom is a lifelong journey, a continual process of growth and refinement. It requires humility and openness to learning, a willingness to acknowledge our limitations and seek guidance from others. The psalmist's prayer in Psalm 90:12 reflects this recognition of our ongoing need for instruction and enlightenment. It is a humble plea for divine intervention, a recognition that true wisdom is a gift bestowed from above.

In a broader sense, Psalm 90:12 speaks to the universal human experience of grappling with the passage of time and the quest for meaning. Regardless of religious or cultural background, all human beings are confronted with the reality of mortality. We are born into a world bound by time, subject to its relentless march forward. The briefness of life is a sobering reminder of our shared humanity, uniting us in our vulnerability and fragility.

In the face of this existential reality, many turn to philosophy, religion, or spirituality in search of answers. We seek to make sense of our existence, to find meaning and purpose amidst the brief nature of life. Psalm 90:12 offers a profound insight into this quest for meaning, suggesting that true wisdom lies not in the accumulation of possessions or accomplishments but in the recognition of life's inherent value and sacredness.

The act of numbering our days is thus an invitation to mindfulness, to a deepening awareness of the present moment. It calls us to embrace each day as a precious gift, to savor the richness of experience and relationship. When we cultivate this attitude of gratitude and presence, we are better able to discern what truly matters in life, and to prioritize those things that bring us joy and fulfillment.

Moreover, the pursuit of wisdom is not a solitary endeavor but a communal one. We learn and grow not only through our own experiences but also through our interactions with others. Psalm 90:12 reminds us of the importance of community and shared wisdom, of seeking guidance and counsel from those who have walked before us. In the company of fellow seekers, we find support and encouragement on our journey toward wisdom.

In conclusion, Psalm 90:12 is a timeless and profound verse that speaks to the human condition with wisdom and insight. It calls us to be mindful of the brevity of life, to use our time wisely, and to seek the transformative power of wisdom. In its simplicity, it encapsulates the essence of the spiritual journey, the quest for meaning and fulfillment amidst the passage of time. May we heed its wisdom and strive to number our days with purpose and intentionality, gaining hearts of wisdom as we journey through life's unfolding mystery.

Heavenly Father,

As we come before you in prayer, we are humbled by the wisdom and truth contained in Psalm 90:12. Teach us, O Lord, to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

In a world filled with distractions and busyness, help us to pause and reflect on the brevity and fragility of life. Grant us the grace to recognize the preciousness of each moment, to cherish the time we have been given on this earth.

Guide us, O God, in the stewardship of our time. Show us how to use it wisely, to invest in pursuits that are meaningful and aligned with your will. May we not squander our days on trivial matters or pursuits that lead us away from you, but instead, may we prioritize those things that bring glory to your name.

Grant us, O Lord, the gift of wisdom. Open our hearts and minds to receive your instruction, so that we may discern what is true and good. May we walk in the fear of the Lord, honoring you in all that we do and say.

We acknowledge O God, our dependence on you for guidance and strength. In times of uncertainty and difficulty, may we turn to you for wisdom and understanding. Help us to trust in your providence, knowing that you hold our days in your hands.

Lord, we lift up our community and our world to you. May we be people who embody your wisdom and grace, shining as lights in a darkened world. Use us, O God, to bring healing and hope to those around us.

We offer this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, who taught us to pray, saying:

Our Father, who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy Name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

and the power, and the glory,

for ever and ever.