Psalm 85

A prayer for the restoration of God’s favor

My sovereign, You saved me, You redeemed me
You pardon all my sins
Please and praise
Help me – again – Ruler of my life, to remember that
Help me to live it
Will I forever feel ignored by You?
Will I always lack confidence that You even exist?
Will I never believe what I hope to be true?
When will I simply rejoice in You?
In Your steadfast love despite my fickleness
Rejoice in the certain reality of my salvation
Speak peace to me
Help me be faithful and turn my heart to You
Let Your glory fill my life
Let Your steadfast love and enduring faithfulness
Seal my mind from doubt
Let Your merciful righteousness and sure peace
Kiss away my hurts, my angers
Let Your enduring faithfulness be my foundation
Your merciful righteousness my highest protection
Let Your goodness gentle me, guide me
Show me the way. Amen

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Psalm 84

How wonderful when my mind dwells with faith on You
Almighty, truly God
How often I yearn for that faith, envy those who have that faith
How often I ask why not me
For goodness sake, because of goodness, in goodness
Those whose lives are simpler than mine
Those who have the gift, the grace of firm faith
They are blessed with easy closeness to You
They live praising you effortlessly
They find strength – not confusion – in their faith
They go through life as through a beautiful valley
Watered by faith, swimming in pools of grace
Even in troubles, they go from strength to strength
Strength of faith, strength in God
While I flounder, drowning in pools of doubt
Hear my prayer – ah, but what is my prayer?
Do I really want You to make me a different me?
Do I really want the assurance of easy faith?
Do I really want to be an anointed one?
Here I am, God, believing – or trying to believe –
That better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere
I read that You are a sun and shield, that You bestow favor and honor
That You withhold no good thing from those whose walk is blameless
But in my mind You remain elusive, You come and go
One day I may spend in the sureness of You, Your existence, Your grace
But a thousand upon a thousand I spend in darkness and doubt
Struggling against all that weighs me down, all the not good things and thoughts
God Almighty, what can I pray today except that You
You who may or may not exist
Bless me as one who trusts in You and doubts You. Amen

Psalm 83

O God, do not remain silent;
Do not turn a deaf ear, do not stand aloof
I need You.
Hear how Your enemies –enemies of my peace of mind – growl within me
See how Your foes – foes of my faith – rear their heads in my mind
I feel like my worst tendencies conspire against me
They plot against me even though You cherish me
“Come,” they whisper to me, “we’re stronger than your faith
When we’re done, you won’t remember God anymore”
With one mind – my mind – they plot together
They form an alliance against Your spirit in me
Like Israel’s enemies of old, these dark tendencies fight against my faith
To me they are indeed like Israel’s enemies of old
And so I make bold to claim my inheritance as one of Your chosen people
Defend me as You defended Israel when its enemies said,
“Let us take possession of the pasture lands of God”
Make them like tumbleweed, my God, like chaff before the wind
So that they tumble from my mind, blow away from my life
As fire consumes the forest or a flame sets the mountains ablaze
So pursue these enemies of my peace and faith with Your tempest
Terrify them with Your storm of righteousness and faithfulness, O God
Bury the unfaithful, doubting parts of me, so that I will ever seek Your name
May I never be ashamed and dismayed, may I never perish in disgrace.
Remind me always that You, whose name is YAHWEH
You alone are the Most High over all the earth – and over me. Amen.

Psalm 82

My plea to God: How long do I have to go on knowing my failings
Living with doubt, depression, despair – my terrible Ds
Even while knowing myself to be blessed
Loving and being loved
Strengthen my weakness, O God,
With Your own strength
Restore my orphaned hope
Rescue my weak and needy spirit
Deliver me from my own wickedness
I have neither sufficient knowledge nor understanding
Time and again, I leave Your light and walk in darkness
I am shaken to my core
I reassure myself that I can make my own life good
But instead my efforts crumble into dust
So, please, God, rise up in my mind, my heart, my soul
That I may remember that I belong to You. Amen

Psalm 81

I have reason to rejoice
To sing praises to God
To live joyfully
To celebrate
I have reason to rejoice
If only I can remember
That God has saved me
If only I remember to listen
For Her voice, Her reassurance
God relieves me, frees me
Answers me, rescues me
But also tests me and fusses at me
Wants me to listen and to obey
To obey – there’s the problem
Sometimes I forget
Sometimes I can’t figure out how
Sometimes I don’t want to
Sometimes I lack the courage
Sometimes I don’t believe
Sometimes I just ignore Her
I let it, let God, slip away
Until I once again feel overwhelmed
Lost, angry, sad, tired, defeated
Sometimes that’s what it takes
For me to turn again to God
And let Her feed my hungry spirit
Fill my empty bitterness
With sweet faith. Amen