Psalm 36

God’s message is in my heart, even more than in a book or a church
God warns me about the futility of going my own way, of ignoring God
When I flatter myself, when I rely on myself,
When I regard my independence with pride
That is exactly when I am most blind
When I brag, when I focus on getting my own way
That is when I lie awake at night, feeling lost, feeling like a fake
I lose my way, I can’t tell right from wrong
Then, once again, You save me, O God
Your love reaches to the heavens – and to my depths
Your faithfulness is wider than the skies
Your righteousness is higher and stronger than my mountain of doubt
Your love, Your love, O God is priceless and precious
I can take refuge in the shadow of Your wings
I can feast on the abundance of Your gracious bounty
I can drink from Your river of delights, from Your wellspring of eternal life
In Your light, I see light; In Your light I live life eternal
Continue Your loving attention that I may not forget You
Let Your righteousness take root in my heart
Let Your righteousness grow ever stronger in me
Strangling the pride, crowding out the doubt, burying the discouragement
Let Your righteousness be my guard against sin
Amen.

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Psalm 37

God, help me to not fret over my shortcomings or keep thinking I am inferior
Those that I envy are no better than me; they are just as mortal, just as sinful
Grant me peace of mind that I may trust in You, do good, enjoy my life
Let me delight in You and remember that my truest desires are centered in You
Let me commit – again and again – to You and trust that You will give me my true desires
Let Your righteousness be mine, shining with dawn’s new light
Let Your justice be mine, shining with noon’s bright glare
Let Your peace be mine, shining with evening’s gentle glow
Still my restless soul that I may wait patiently for You without worry or anxiety, without dread or envy
Help me to turn from anger and wrath, from all that is bad for my spirit
You will triumph over all my faults; You will bless my trust with a place in Your kingdom
A little while You promise, and I will struggle no more
You will banish and vanish my faults, my terrible Ds
So, trusting in Your greatness, I will live peacefully with meekness in Your grace
I may feel torn now, like a battle between good and evil rages within me and I am losing
But You, God, simply laugh at my terrible foes; You know they are no match for You
My battle rages on, the enemies of my peace seem powerful and threaten to conquer me
But You, God, conquer them, You destroy the destroyers
Better one day in Your courts than thousands elsewhere
Better what seems to be Your “little” than deceitful tumultuous longings, envy, wealth and ease
For the power of dis-ease is broken by the might of Your righteousness
You brings days of peace, an everlasting inheritance of goodness
Even when I feel empty or embattled, Your righteousness and love does not desert me
What to me seems like strong choking weeds smothering my peace, will wither before Your power
They will vanish like smoke, burned up by Your righteousness
When I am fearful, I get selfish but when I trust in You, God, I love being generous
Because I remember my rich inheritance through Your blessings
I remember that You guard and firm my path when I walk trusting in Your divine love
Even when I stumble into darkness, Your light will find me, Your strength will lift me up again and again
I was young and now I am old; I was full of faith and then empty; I was hopeful and then despairing
But, though I did not always know it, never was I deserted by You, God
You help me to be generous to others; You bless my children and their children
So I can turn from my inner struggles and look outward to do good, working in Your kingdom forever
You love justice; You are faithful; You protect me; You cut off my doubts and despair
You will Your own righteousness to me; You grant me rights to Your divine eternal kingdom
And, because of You, I can be righteousness, I can speak with wisdom and justice
I can keep Your peace and justice in my heart, letting it guide me
Doubt and despair may still contend for my soul, for my peace
But You will not leave me in their power or let them condemn me
Let me wait for You, God, and keep Your way
And I will inherit Your kingdom and see the end of my troubles
Although I may feel like trouble is winning in my life
In Your time it will soon pass away and be no more
Here is what I want to remember always:
There is future – God’s eternal future – for the person of peace
There is no future for doubt, despair, depression, envy or any trouble that destroys God’s peace
Salvation begins with God’s righteousness; God is my stronghold in time of trouble
God helps me, delivers me, save me – not because of my goodness but because I take refuge in God. Amen.

Psalm 40

I wait patiently for You, God, to turn to me and hear my cry
I wait for You to lift me out of this slimy pit of sadness
Out of the mud and mire of gloom and discouragement
I wait for You to set my feet on the rock of Your salvation
To give me a firm place to stand in Your peace
I wait for You to put a new song in my heart and mouth
A glad song of praise to You
I would like people to look at me and see You,
Your love and faithfulness shining through
So they will know to trust their happiness to You
Blessed will I be when I trust You that way
When I do not look to my own prideful accomplishments
When I do not put my faith in the idols of this world
Help me, God, to remember the wonders You have already done for me
Help me, God, to trust the good You have planned for me
Help me, God, to remember that none can compare with You
For Your goodness and righteousness is too great to tell or comprehend
Help me, God, to remember that You want ME,
Not my money or possessions, but my love and trust in You
You don’t want a hollow “I’m sorry” but You do want to hear me say
“Here I am, I have come; I desire to do your will, my God
I desire to have Your law within my heart”
Help me, God, to proclaim by my life Your saving acts
Help me, God, to treasure Your righteousness in my heart
Help me, God, to speak of Your faithfulness and saving help
Do not withhold Your mercy from me, God
May Your love and faithfulness always protect me
You know how often I feel that troubles without number surround me
How often I feel that there is no hope, no peace, no goodness in me
How often I can’t stop the negative, hurtful thoughts and feelings
How often my heart, my courage, my optimism, fail me
Be pleased to save me, God; come quickly, God, to help me
Let all the negatives disappear before Your great positive
Let all the despair drown in Your great hope
Let all the dark discouragement vanish in the light of Your great love
Let me, with all who seek You, rejoice and be glad in You
Let me, with all who long for Your saving help, always say
“God is great!”
But for all that, here I sit, poor and needy, again and again, needy
Think of me, please, God
For You alone are my help and my deliverer
You alone are my God
So, please, come quickly, do not delay. Amen.

Psalm 39

Over and over I promise myself that I will control my temper and my tongue
I will put a muzzle on my mouth when I am hurt or angry
But then I hurt by my silent withdrawal, not even saying anything good
And meanwhile my hurt and anger grow hotter and hotter within me
I try to pray, to meditate but the fire burns inside me until I explode
Then I turn on You, God, and demand that You help me
Humble me, bring me back to the reality of how short life is
How little time we each really have, the good as well as the bad
How foolish we are to rush around being upset by this life
Its riches and disappointments, its honors and hurts
When all will vanish and only You will remain
What can I look for, hope for, but You; my hope is in You
Only You can save me from myself
Only You can give me worthy words, worthy thoughts, worthy feelings
You take away all pretense, all worthless strivings, all false philosophies
Before Your eternalness, everyone’s life is but a breath
So hear my prayer, God, listen to my cry for help
Do not be deaf to my weeping
Although I often feel that You are distant and unknowable
Although I sometimes doubt that You are real
Although I may feel as pagan as any Gentile of old
Please accept me, don’t be angry with me, save me
That I may enjoy life in this world before I depart it forever.
Amen

Psalm 38

When I am down, when those terrible Ds attack
Then, God, I feel like You are against me
I feel unwanted, unloved, abandoned, wounded with a deadly wound
Nothing feels good or healthy; I feel weak in my very bones
My guilt – real and imagined – overwhelms me, a burden too heavy to bear
I imagine myself as something foul and rotting, too sick to be healed
I am bowed down, brought low, going through my days with no joy
So heavy feels my burden that my back aches, my joints stiffen, my skin is on fire
I feel feeble, crushed, I groan with anguish in my heart
But You know all of this, none of this is news to You
Weakness and darkness – that is my world
Loneliness and rejection – that is my world
Failure and doubt – that is my world
Deaf to pleasure, mute in praise – that is my reality
Deaf to joy, mute in thanksgiving – that is my reality
Waiting, waiting, not able to do anything, I wait for You to rescue me – again
As always I ask that You save me from myself, pick me up before I slip down completely into a silent, dark grave
The most I can do is find the ability, in my pain and despair and doubt, to ask
The most I can do is admit all I can’t do for myself
When I am losing the battle against the enemies of my peace of mind
When my life seems useless, when everything I try to do seems worthless
When failure rules my thoughts
Do not forsake me, God, do not withdraw from me though I withdraw from You
Come quickly then to help me, O God my Savior. Amen.