Praying the Psalms – Psalm 7

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Praying the Psalms – Psalm 7 (v1-6)

My God, save me from those who are chasing me! Rescue me from the perils that await me, both in my heart and in the world around me. Don’t leave me alone. The lions are hungry. Don’t let them feed on me!

Have I done something to deserve the wrath of my enemy? If so, reveal it so that I can change my ways. What have I done? I do not want blood on my hands! Show me how I have mistreated the ones you love. If I have taken anything I have not earned, please show me.

My enemies are angry. Let your love counter their anger. Let you love work through them so they can see with Jesus’ eyes. Let your love work through me so that I no longer see enemies but only people who are not family yet. Open my eyes so I can see people like you do. Open my ears so I can hear their pain crying out for comfort and compassionate care. AMEN.

Praying the Psalms – Psalm 29

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Praying the Psalms—Psalm 29

Glorious and powerful God, I put my focus on you today. I want to hear your voice rush to me like it rushed over the waters so long ago. I want to hear it ring out like a peel of thunder. When I hear you speak, may that I would be awestruck and speechless. I only want to hear you. Give me strength to weather whatever comes today. May the sound of your voice bring peace to my soul and rest in my weariness. AMEN.

Praying the Psalms – Psalm 52

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Praying the Psalms

Psalm 52

God, I do not want to brag about the evil I’ve done. I want to bask in your faithful, long-lasting love. Give me the courage to have your kind of power, the power to persuade, the power to convince, the power to draw others to me so they can know your love.

May the words I use not be destructive. May they not cut others. May they be honest. May I focus my entire life on good and not evil. No matter what, may I never lie and deceive others.

Do not take me down unless I have gained anything through deception. Do not uproot me from the living. Not yet. I want to be whole with you in eternity…but not today. Today, I wish to be in awe of your creation. Today, I wish to laugh at those people that love evil more than good, who speak destruction and deception. I will laugh today. But I will also pray for them the same prayer I have for me: Lord, I pray for your shelter and protection. I pray for the strength and wisdom to trust in nothing but your loving guidance. I pray I am smart enough to understand it and to follow it.

Make me like a thriving olive tree in your house, healthy and full of fruit. May I trust in in your faithful love forever and always. Make that trust real in my words and my actions. I thank you because you have acted and not left me alone to continue down the path of destruction and deceit. Please surround me with people that are faithful to your loving way. In them, I will see the reason for hope in your good name. AMEN.

Praying the Psalms – Psalm 15

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Praying the Psalms

Psalm 15

God, I want to live under your tent. I want to be secure in your love. I want a mountaintop experience. Give me the strength and desire to make the climb. We don’t just get to the mountaintop. We must make the journey there. Thank you for not making me climb alone.

I want to be blame free. Your Spirit makes clear when I am not and comforts me in those moments. Bring healing and restoration to those on the receiving end of the actions of which I am guilty. I want to do what is right for you and those around me.

May your Spirit guide my tongue and empower me to speak truthfully and sincerely. Words can do more damage than most physical weapons. I do not want my words to hurt myself or others.

I miss my friends. May your Spirit remind me that doing no harm to them is just the first step. I want to love them. May my neighbors know no insult because of me. Please reveal to me how I have caused them harm so that I can repair it if possible.

God, you despise wickedness but do not destroy the wicked. Instead, you seek to change them into people who honor and love you. You seek to change them into people who love your creation as much as you do. Where I have been wicked, change my heart to be more like you.

I have made promises. Honoring promises and being honest with others is important to me. But I am not perfect. Forgive me for my broken promises. Give me the strength of will to forgive those who break their promises to me.

I want to give without expectation of getting back. If someone needs from me, may I remember you gave everything and expect no repayment. You have called us to be givers, not lenders. May I be a giver.

The innocent are vulnerable, especially to those that seek to harm them. May I never be swayed to hurt an innocent person. May I never we swayed to hurt anyone.

God, guide my footstep along the path of mercy and justice that you have paved. Please don’t let me stumble but be with me to pick me up if I do. AMEN.

Praying the Psalms – Psalm 68

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Praying the Psalms – Psalm 68 (v1-4)

God, may you show yourself to me today. May you rise up in my spirit until I cannot ignore your presence any longer. May your presence in me be a presence in the world. May that presence disperse those who oppose you and your will. May evils flee from me because of you. May evils flee from the world because of you through me.

May the wind blowing on my face today be your breath of goodness and life-giving freedom from harm. May your breath blow away every wall barring you from working completely through me and this world. Melt the evil in my heart as a flame melts a candle.

I want to be able to rejoice in your presence as the truly right-hearted do. Show yourself to me and judge me to be worthy to rejoice. Let me celebrate with joy! I desire to sing songs of praise of you to you. Rekindle the flame of creation that used to roar so furiously for you. May my voice ring out in praise and hope. May you take me to the wilderness to be deliver your goodness. Maybe I am already there. If I am, may I bring water to parched souls. AMEN.

Praying the Psalms – Psalm 31

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Praying the Psalms

Psalm 31 (v1-8)

I can handle it all because you are my shelter, O God. Change the hearts of those who would shame me. Change my heart when I seek to shame others. Save us from my anger and guilt.

I know you hear me when I cry out to you. I pray I listen to the people sent into my path that can help deliver me from this heartache. I pray for stability in an unstable world. I pray for strength to make it through the hardships in front of me.

God, your stability and faithfulness to goodness is a protective shield. May I reflect that goodness to your people. May I give over every part of my spirit that does not love perfectly.

I hate that I hate. I get so worked up when people waste their place in this world. I hate what is worthless, but I embrace worthless ideals all the time, giving over my limited time to things that do not bring me wholeness, goodness, or empowerment. My spirit celebrates faithful love, and I suffer when I do not extend that love or accept it for myself. You know my distress because you know me intimately. Protect me from the spaces in my life that the enemy of love seeks to bind me in. Free my soul to roam in the wide-open spaces of your empowering goodness. AMEN.

Praying the Psalms – Psalm 22

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Praying the Psalms

Psalm 22

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Jesus uttered these words from the cross. In his time of greatest fear and pain, he wondered at your absence. If even he had to wonder, then surely, I am okay to have doubt. Please do not leave me and forsake me. Rescue me or give me over to be rescued by those around me.

Do you even hear me? I talk but hear nothing. Is that because I talk and do not listen or because you have nothing to say? Make me still. Let the chaos in my soul settle.

I trust in your goodness. I trust that the cords that bind my heart and my mind will be cut, and you will set me free. I want to escape. I want to hide. I just don’t want to be beat up anymore. I trust in your goodness.

When I feel worthless, you remind me that I am beloved. When I think I am a disgrace to you, you wash me anew in your grace. When the people revile me, you hold me close. When the people mock me, you give me power to build someone up. When the people shake their heads and sneer at me, you give me power to smile in the face of the snarl.

Give me the power to turn to you again today. Set me free from the cage of wild animals, or maybe have the cage protect me until they go away. Either way, find delight in me and save me from myself.

I cast myself upon you, so cast me not away from your presence. Do not be far from me, for distress is near and no one else can settle the chaos of my soul. I am falling apart and my heart melts like wax. The joy of everything seems to be diminishing. Evil encircles me looking to take everything.

But you are not far. You have come to my aid in the past and I know you will now. Save me from the sword of my life. Have I expected too much? Have I raised myself up to places I should not have been? Ease this affliction of the lowly. Do not hide your face from me. I need to see it now more than ever. Hear me!

May my hunger be satiated. May my search find you. May I experience good cheer. May I remember you. May I return to you. May I bow down before you. May you rule the hearts of all. AMEN.

Praying the Psalms – Psalm 16

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God, the only safety I know is found in the moments I seek you. May there be more of those moments. Sometimes, it feels like the only good found in this world is in those moments. But I know that the world has good in it. You made it so.

The beauty of faith-filled people encompasses me. I thank you for those people every day. They reveal themselves at the same time the faithless do. Those who trust in your love completely are true and beautiful. When I hurt, they heal my heart.

Still, there are those who chase after the gods of power, control, and security. They despair because these gods are not theirs to get. They abandon your goodness for lesser, more vile things. Come, Holy Spirit, and guide them back to you. May they find your love and forgiveness complete.

Eternal One, you recharge me when I am running on empty. Your path leads to my future. My future sits next to me as I pray, three rambunctious little boys without a care in the world. They frustrate and energize me all at once. Together, my past and present, my wife, we journey this path as one. You have gifted me with more than I could have asked for.

Teach me your wise ways. May they orchestrate my days. May they center my mind on the things that bring you joy. Be present with me. Go before me just as you come with me. With you at my right hand, I will not abandon my calling.

This is a good life – even when it is a hard life. May a find rest so I can reflect on the gladness of my heart and the joyfulness of my soul. You never leave me alone. You do not abandon me, so I will not abandon you.

Direct me to beauty. Direct me on the path that leads to beautiful life. Direct me to bring beauty into the lives of others. This is your pleasure. Make it mine. Help me when I choose ugliness. I will know genuine joy and contentment when I walk the path that leads to beauty. AMEN.

Praying the Psalms – Psalm 38

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Praying the Psalms – Psalm 38

“This is one of a group of psalms known in later tradition as the penitential psalms, namely, psalms that confess sins and express confidence in God’s mercy. In this psalm a serious illness threatens the life of the worshiper.” – Notes from the Compass Study Bible

God, I pray that you do not get angry at me even when I completely turn my back to you. Even though I deserve it, please do not correct me out of fury. Don’t shoot me full of arrows. The world does that enough. It comes down hard on me. I couldn’t take that from you too.

I feel sick at the thought of you being angry with me, so much so that the thought of it drains me of my will to live. I can’t even walk because the sin in me and around me is so heavy. I am guilty of sinning against you and I can’t handle it anymore. This burden is too heavy for me to bear.

This disease infects me to the core. It penetrates every part of me and is revealed in all the foolish things I have done. I am so afraid of your wrath that I can’t even look upward. I can only stare at the ground; the weight is so heavy. I cry all day knowing how wrong I’ve been towards you. I feel like I’m dying. My body is breaking down from the stress of the guilt I carry.

I’m so overwhelmed by it all that I’m beginning to be numb to it. I am totally spent. I can’t even scream out for your mercy when my heart is agitated.

You know my heart. You know my desires. Every moan for help is no news to you. My heart pounds against my chest, beating out the rhythm of despair and exhaustion. The light of your love once shone bright in my eyes but now they are as dim and cloudy as a decaying fish washed up on a seashore. With that light fading, even my friends and family can see the change.

Those who want to harm me bait me with traps. Those who desire my downfall threaten. They spend their days plotting against me.

I cannot hear you over the sound of my own despair. I do not dare speak to you for fear of exposing my guilt and having you notice me. I just want to hide from your wrath.

Still…

Still, I wait expectantly for you, Compassionate One. I know deep down that you will answer my cries with mercy and love and not a closed fist. I will fail. But when I do, please touch the hearts of those that would laugh and celebrate my downfall.

I do not know how much time is left. Do not let me waste the time I have. I confess that I have sinned and regret all the wrong I have done. Even with this admittance, my enemies do not forgive. They hate me still. When I do good, they punish anyway. They stand against me in the path of any good I want to accomplish.

God, do not leave me to their mercy but protect me in yours. Stay near me. Do not stray from me. I will remain under the comfort of your gaze. When they are near, be my fortress and my rock. I need your help now – not later. Rescue me, my God.

And may your mercy and compassion rain down on those who wish to harm me. They know not what they do, even if they think they do. Stir in their hearts compassion and the knowledge that they are as far from you as they think I am. Do not destroy them. Restore them as I want you to restore me. AMEN.

Praying the Psalms – Psalm 1

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Psalm 1 (1-3)

God of unwavering grace, guide me in your loving way. Close my ears to wicked advice. I want to follow your road of mercy and forgiveness. When I am disrespectful to others, please forgive me and reveal to me the way of reconciliation. Teach me your way. Inscribe love on my heart so that it becomes my first language. Let the struggles I experience be growing pain and not death pangs. Let me be the sweet fruit of a tree you’ve planted in this time and place. Give me strength to keep moving forward, to keep reaching those who are lost, and to care for those you have entrusted to me…and to never grow weary doing your good. Let me succeed in being perfected in your love. Amen.