Monday, February 1, 2021

Do you read the Psalms?

If I'm telling the truth, I struggled with the Psalms most of my life; I pretty much ignored them. The Church encourages priests and deacons to read the Psalms daily. It has been a pleasant surprise how much the Psalms have moved my heart. It is easy to offer a prayer that is simple sweet, something we learned as a child.  When we pray with the Psalms, the range of emotions recorded in them forces us to speak honestly to God about our life.  

The Psalms talk of happiness, delight, and laughter but they also speak of sighing, crying and groaning. They challenge us to confront our hatred, fear, and guilt exposing our darker side to God. The Psalms force us to face our shame and disgrace. Often reading them is not easy. But if you want an honest dialogue with God, they are great tools.

When life is full of questions and doubts, when life is just plain difficult,  it's OK to yell and scream at God. The Psalms can help you do that:

  • My eye is wasted from grief – 31:9
  • Day and night Your hand was heavy upon me – 32:4
  • My strength is dried up – 32:4
  • How long, oh LORD? Will you forget me forever? - 13:1
  • My God, my God, why have you forsaken me - 22:1
  • Out of the depths, I cry to you, O Lord! - 130:1
  • With my voice, I cry out to the Lord; with my voice, I plea for mercy to the Lord. I pour out my complaint before him; I declare my trouble before him. - 142:1–2
  • In my trouble, I called to the LORD; I called to my God for help. - 18:6

The Psalms will also give you words of comfort, words that lift your spirit:

  • Whenever I am anxious and worried, you comfort me and make me glad. - 94:19
  • I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. - 34:4-5
  • You are my God. I worship you. In my heart, I long for you, as I would long for a stream in a scorching desert. 63:1
  • Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. 46:10
  • You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.  - 86:5
  • I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise. - 119:58
  • Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people,  - 100:3
  • I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. - 116:1-2
  • The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul - 23:1-2

Open the Psalms during your prayer time and let them speak for your heart to God. 

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