1 Hear my prayer, O LORD;
give ear to my supplications in your faithfulness;
answer me in your righteousness.
2 Do not enter into judgment with your servant,
for no one living is righteous before you.
3 For the enemy has pursued me,
crushing my life to the ground,
making me sit in darkness like those long dead.
4 Therefore my spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled.
5 I remember the days of old,
I think about all your deeds,
I meditate on the works of your hands.
6 I stretch out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah
7 Answer me quickly, O LORD;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me,
or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.
8 Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning,
for in you I put my trust.
Teach me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
9 Save me, O LORD, from my enemies;
I have fled to you for refuge.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
Let your good spirit lead me
on a level path.
11 For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life.
In your righteousness bring me out of trouble.
12 In your steadfast love cut off my enemies,
and destroy all my adversaries,
for I am your servant.
Just imagine you are tasked with writing a prayer that will go into Scripture. What would you say? How would you sound? You might be tempted to say lofty things, about God certainly. You might be tempted to say things from a position of strength and confidence. You wouldn't want to sound like a wimp. You would want others to know how fully secure you are in God. If you were to talk about your enemies, you would probably want to depict them as non-real threats, impostors really.
You would be like Cesar Millan, exuding that calm-assertive energy for whomever you have on the leash. (By the way, Cesar 911 on Netflix is awesome.)
You would be so distracted by how you might appear that you couldn't be totally honest and vulnerable. It would be terribly hard to put your reputation to the side and just be a baby, voicing all your fears and insecurities.
Because of this, God didn't ask you to write Scripture. Well, God did not ask me either. We're even.
But God did ask the various psalmists we find in the pages of Scripture to compose their songs, prayers, and poems. How did they write? No pretense, no bravado, no posturing. Beautiful language but with absolute honesty that we can feel. The fear, the insecurities, the whining, and the hope that God might save the day all come through crystal clear.
For all of us, the readers of Scripture, what an encouragement it is to see the all-too-human weakness of heart and even doubts in the Psalms. We connect with the Psalms at a heart level because the writers of the Psalms come down to our level by writing from their true level of weakness. We think: the psalmist understands how I feel! The psalmist is voicing my own sense of being overwhelmed by the trials and threats that are before me.
Help me, O God! I need help! Are you there!?
The psalmist prays from this place where we all find ourselves at one time or another. Of course, there are triumphant psalms from the get-go, too. And we know how that feels, when we are so flowing with confidence in God that no apprehensive word could get in edgewise.
Let the Psalms be our #1 prayer book!
Let's pray: O Lord, we thank you for the Psalms that help us voice our worship, lament, and prayers from the heart. May what we read/pray through the Psalms encourage us as we walk with you. May we know that nothing is beyond the pale in terms of what we can pray because your love and concern cover all of life. Help each us today. Remind us how much you love us. In Jesus' name, amen.