Psalm 21

O God, I am so thankful for Your strength, for Your help
With You I can know the joy of victory over darkness
I come to You not just asking that You grant the desires of my heart
But that You help me to have worthwhile desires
I need help to discern true blessings, to appreciate true goodness
So that my life may be crowned with the golden crown of Your peace
Only in You can I find life everlasting
Only in You can I know greatness
Only in You can I see splendor and majesty
Only You can grant eternal blessings
Only in Your presence can I sustain joy
So here’s my prayer, my only prayer or at least my main prayer
Help me to remember that
Help me to trust in You
Help me to remember that in Your unfailing love
I can find an end to my questioning and doubting and troubles
Turning to You, I can overcome my inner struggles
You can seize them, squeeze them into kindling
Swallow them up in the furnace of Your bright love and power
Burn them forever from my immortal soul
I may have to struggle with them while I live here
But You will ensure that they do not follow me into eternity
Your weapons of love and peace will pierce them
I exalt in Your strength, I praise Your might, I sing of You. Amen.

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Psalm 22

(OK, this feels just a bit presumptuous; this to me is the psalm of the cross and even though I don’t always accept the Gospel version as necessarily reality, it still feels like something I should not mess with)

My God, my God, I feel like You have forsaken me
(even though I may deserve to be forsaken; that has never been Your way)
You seem to be so far from saving me, so far from my groaning and moaning
I feel like I cry out to You day and night, but get no answer
Aren’t You the holy one, the eternal one, God almighty of Israel
Yada yada yada
Wasn’t I taught that all of those great cloud of witnesses
Trusted You and were not disappointed
What about me? What am I, a worm?
You know what it feels like to be paranoid?
To worry that everyone is looking down on you
Secretly insulting you, shaking their heads
Saying it’s too bad, what a waste, she had such promise
God help her since about all she has left is God
OK, so maybe all I ever had was You
That’s certainly what I was taught
Didn’t really have to be taught it – I learned it in the womb
So come on, don’t give up on me
I feel threatened, threatened by my own bull-headedness
Threatening by the beasts of my own darkness
The ones that chew up my confidence and spit it out in little pieces
The ones that make me feel powerless, like a scarecrow
With all the stuffing gone, a poor limp thing that crows nest on
I feel like death, ready to be eaten by dogs, beaten by life
Mourned over, gloated over, ignored, naked
So I guess I’m counting on You, God, to be my strength
To come quickly to help me
To save me from my own dark and fearsome terrors
From my own depression and despair
From the ravaging beasts of my self-doubts and delusions
The psalmist promises to declare Your name, to praise You
I have to admit that I often forget to do that
“Praise God, honor God, Revere God,” instructs the psalmist
I promise to try but You know that even to do that I need You
So don’t hide Your face from me
Please answer my cries for help
Then let me use Your blessings to help other
Not just to praise You to others, with others
But to truly help those in need; help me to do my part
All my life, let me know You and turn to You
Let me bow down before You, my Creator God
Let me know that what I do, I do only through You
What I have, I have only through You
Who I am, I am only through You
Let my life speak to my children and grandchildren, my family and friends
Let my life show Your greatness not my fears
Let my life show Your strength not my weakness
Let my life show Your righteousness not my failings
Let my life show that You have done what needed to be done.
Amen.

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Psalm 23

The Word of God promises me that if I let God be my guide
S/he will take care of me, give me peace and quiet
Make sure that my thoughts and actions are righteous
So that even when I am overwhelmed by deathly anger
By stinking depression, by sinking doubts
I will be OK
God will stay with me, defend me, comfort me
Better than that
God will let me feel like I am feasting at a banquet
Relaxing untouched by the hungering dark
Overflowing with everything good and true
If only, if only, if only I could live like that always
Then surely I would not have to struggle so
Just to feel good, just to hold others in thoughts of mercy
Rather than thoughts of anger and disappointment
If only I could let God be my guide forever. Amen.

A pause here because although I can read and write these words
Although I feel that these psalms are true
Tonight is one of my times of darkness
When all I really feel about myself is unworthy
I feel alone and unloved, and what is worse,
I feel that it is right and just that I am alone and unloved
I feel this fate to be no more or less than what I have brought on myself
I am drowning in pity here
And I hate it
Come on, God, give a little, can’t You?
A little bit of rescuing is in order here & would be much appreciated.

Psalm 24

Everything and everyone belongs to God
Because God created everything
God created everyone to share in divine glory
And that includes me
I belong to God
God wants me to be content, to live in truth
To recognize truth and respond to it
In truth, God blesses and saves me
Even from myself
If I – like that great cloud of witnesses
Turn to the bright light of God’s face
Away from the darkness of my fears and doubts
So let me lift up my thoughts, lift up my feelings, lift up my actions
Each day
Lift them up to my sovereign God
Who is this God of glory?
God is strong and mighty
Strong enough, mighty enough to conquer my troubles
So let me lift up my thoughts, lift up my feelings, lift up my actions
Each day
Lift them up to my sovereign God
Who is this God of glory?
None other than the true God, the mightiest God
Ruler of glory, Bringer of light, Conqueror of fears.
Amen

Psalm 25

To You, God, I will lift up my soul
In You I will trust; You will be my God, my only God
But I know myself – there is no way I can really do that
Unless You squelch all my tendencies to ignore You
To let my life be ruled by my fears and worries
Instead of by my hope in You
So keep on clearing the path for me, God
Be the gardener and groundskeeper of my mind and heart
Teach me how to control my fears and worries
Teach me Your truth, remind me of Your ability to save me
So that all day, every day, I can live in Your hope and peace
Thankfully, Your mercy and love are older and stronger
Than my sins and miseries
Just, please, treat me according to Your mercy and love
Rather than according to my sins and miseries
I’m Your child and, like a loving child, I want to be like You
I want to be good and upright, like You
I want to be humble and content, like You
I want to be loving and faithful, like You
So, again, I pray that You will treat me
Not as if my failings were all there is to me
But as though I truly am like You, made in Your image
I know I envision a good life for my children
So I’m sure You envision a good eternal life for me
But I can’t get there unless You clear the path, plow the road
Whisper Your truths to my heart
Help me to remember that my wounds
Those wounds of depression and despair
Discouragement and envy will only heal
Not by my finger probing them again and again
But by applying, again and again, day after day
The healing salve of Your mercy and faithfulness
So I pray with the psalmist
“Turn to me and be gracious to me
For I am lonely and afflicted
The troubles of my heart have multiplied
Free me from my anguish”
To believe in You means to have confidence
That You get it, You know all of the ways
That I feel beaten and overwhelmed
And You want something better for me
You can create something better for me
You can rescue me; in You I can find safety and peace
In Your great castle I can live a life filled with truth and rightness
A life of peace and plenty
Save me, o God of old, God of ages, God of ancient salvation
You save millions, billions
Let me be one of them
Save me from all my troubles.
Amen.