Psalm 35

God, you know my enemies
I do not have to worry about war or life-threatening illness
I do not have to worry about people wanting to kill me
You know what kills my spirit, what threatens my faith and contentment
You know my terrible Ds: doubt, depression, despair, discouragement
You know how often my own thoughts and worries defeat me
How often I say, “This is too much”, “I can’t”, “I’m not good enough”
These are the enemies I need You to contend with for me
Come to my aid with all Your weapons of salvation and love
Turn away my downtrodden thoughts and feelings
Let them blow away on Your mighty wind
Don’t let them overtake me, trip me up, bury me
Let me rejoice in You, let me praise You to the skies
Let me find my confidence and peace in You
Rescue and enrich my poor soul
Rescue me from my own tendencies to rob my confidence
When those thoughts of being unworthy fill me
When I question the value of everything I have done
When I feel unloved, unnoticed, unworthy
When I begin to compare myself, always unfavorably, with others
Rescue me, save me, grant me Your peace that passes understanding
Lift me up so that all can see my great thanksgiving to You
Save me from my own turmoil, doubts and confusion
Do not be far from me, God
Save me through Your righteousness
Save me from my monsters that swallow my possibilities
My friends will join me in praising You, in shouting for joy and gladness
We will say, “God, who ensures our well-being, be exalted”
I will proclaim YOUR righteousness, sing YOUR praises all day long
Amen.

Psalm 26

I need You to claim me, God
As if I had led a blameless life
As if every day had been a best day
Because on a best day
I trust You without wavering
You can examine my thoughts and feelings
And find only love and Your truth
No lies, no hypocrisy, no envy
No sins, no doubts, no failings at all
Just Your innocence and my worship of You
My life resonates with Your praise
My words and actions reflect Your grace, Your salvation
I love Your place in my soul, that interior castle
Where Your glory dwells
So please, God, make this best the daily reality of my life
Don’t let my thoughts, feelings and actions turn dark
Don’t let me sink beneath storms of doubt
Don’t let me forget
Redeem me and be merciful to me
As if I had led a life without doubt, a life always centered on You
Quiet my storms, level my pits
So I can stand secure in Your peace
So I can praise You with my whole being. Amen.

Psalm 27

God is my light and my salvation – What  darkness need I fear?
God is my strength – What  weakness can destroy me?
When the dark and deadly arise in me to devour my peace
When my doubts and depression attack me, they will not, cannot succeed
Though darkness besieges me, God can lighten my heart
Though those warring nations arise inside me, even then I can trust God
One thing I ask of God; this is what I seek: That my spirit may ever find
Rest, peace and shelter in God all the days of my life
That my inner vision remain fixed on the strong beauty of God
That my thoughts ever seek God
Then in my times of trouble God will keep me safe and secure
God will shield me from despair; God will lift me high above depression
Then I will feel exalted, victorious over that creeping darkness
Then I can offer God my joy, my praise, my song, my soul
So, God, please: Hear my voice when I call; have mercy and answer me
My heart tells me to seek You; help me, God, to follow my heart
Don’t give up on me; don’t get angry with me; don’t reject or forsake me
O God, my Savior. Though I sometimes feel forsaken by family, friends
And even by You, God, You keep me close.
So please, teach me Your ways, lead me in Your path
Away from my darkness, away from my doubts and demons
Away from the violence I do to my own peace of mind
So that I can recognize Your goodness all around me
Then I will wait with confidence for You, God
Then I will be strong and take heart and wait – and wait –
Confidently for You, God.  Amen.

Psalm 28

To You I call, O God, my steady support
Do not turn a deaf ear to me
For if You remain silent I will be lost
Lost in the pit of my doubts and darkness
Hear my cry for help, for mercy
As I lift my heart to Your holiness
Do not let me be dragged down by wickedness
Do not let me be good only in how I look to others
While inside my heart turns to evil and malicious thoughts
You and You alone can destroy the darkness in me
Only Your light can banish that darkness
You can tear down the hardened walls around my heart
You can soften my heart as You did Pharaoh’s of old
And so I praise You, my God, knowing You have heard me
Truly You are my strength, the shield of my mind
My heart trusts You; my heart leaps for joy
The joy in my heart spills upward into song and praise
I am Yours. You are my strength and shield, my fortress of salvation
You save me, You save us all, You bless us, You shepherd us, You carry us
Forever. Alleluia and Amen!

Psalm 29 — once and again

In God I find strength, glory and holiness
In God is power and majesty
Uprooting my weakness and troubles
Breaking down my doubts and denial
When I feel close to God, my heart skips and sings
When I feel close to God, my spirit overflows with joy
When I feel close to God, there is no desert in my soul
There is no forest of confusion
There is no storm of uncertainty
Such relief, to believe in, to know, the power of God
My spirit cries “Glory to God”
God is my sovereign forever; God is my strength forever
God blesses me with peace. Amen.
________________________________________________________
and again:
Let me always acknowledge God’s glory and strength
Let me worship God, humbly before such holiness
Here is my hope and victory:
God rules the world
Oceans and forests, animals and weather, deserts and cities
All heed God’s voice, God’s powerful, majestic voice
As with the physical world, so with my internal world may it be
May God rule, may God be enthroned forever
So I can cry, “Glory! Glory and praise and thanksgiving”
God, give me strength; God, bless me with peace
Your peace that passes understanding. Amen.
(And thank you very much)

Psalm 30

I will turn my thoughts and my thanks to You, God
For lifting me up, for giving me the grace to live well
I turn to You for help and You heal me
You bring me out of those deadly Ds: depression, despair, doubt
Surrounded by, in harmony with, that great cloud of witnesses
I sing to God, I praise the holy name
I may feel God’s anger at moments
But throughout my life I live in God’s love and grace
I may cry through some nights, but morning always comes
There comes – again and again – those times – those blessed times
When I feel secure, when my faith is strong and solid
When I can live in an awareness of God’s grace
When I feel my life is large and strong
But when I am overwhelmed by doubt, I shrink and quake
Then I need Your grace, God, to call to You
As if I have to convince You or remind You
That I cannot praise or appreciate You when I am in that pit of ds
When I am as if just dust with no divine forever
Again and again I need to call out of the dust of my life
Call out to You for grace and mercy, for help
Help to live joyfully, help to lift up my heart
Help to live in thankfulness to You always. Amen

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.

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