Praying the Psalms ~ Psalm 88

It is okay to be honest with God. It is okay to open the flood gates and pour out your heart to God. God can handle it. God can handle your feelings. You are not going to hurt God’s feelings with your laments and crying out to Him. Yes, there will be dark times in your life and yes, it is okay to run to God with your fears and despair. Too many people have been taught to be careful what you say to God, but one of the things the Psalms teach us is to raise our voices to God, but to do so in faith; for God is faithful.

Notice at the beginning of the Psalm, the psalmist refers to God as my salvation. It is in that light that I offer this prayer for you…

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O Lord, God of my salvation, I cry out day and night before you. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry!
[Psalms 88:1‭-‬2 ESV]

Oh Lord, my God, I am in utter despair.
I am lost.
I feel embattled on all sides.
My hope is waning, especially when I look to this world; seeing the hatred and violence, oppression and division, walls and weapons, loveless words and hate-filled rhetoric.
Oh God, I cry out to You but it appears a hopeless endeavor at times.
People close to me are hurting.
People that I love are in pain.
People dear to my heart are without hope and I am at a loss for words.
I don’t know what to say to You. I don’t know how to pray.
Turn Your ear to my prayer.
Look upon my sorrow.
Gaze upon me with Your love.
Though I feel You are distant, I know that You are not.
Though it feels like You are not listening, I know that You do.
Though is feels like I am abandoned, I know that I am not.

But I, O Lord, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you.
[Psalms 88:13 ESV]

Enemies attack.
The Evil One is having a party in my midst.
Darkness surrounds me.
Oh Lord, my God, show me Your glory.
Touch me with Your mighty hand.
Speak to me with Your still, quiet voice.
Hold me in Your loving arms.
I cry out to You in hope, for You are ever present.
I cry out to You in hope, for thy will be done.
I cry out to You in hope, for I am Your beloved child.
Oh Lord, my God, You and You alone are my salvation.

Amen.

Winning Side

God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered; and those who hate him shall flee before him!
Psalms 68:1 ESV

When you are in Christ, you are on the winning side. God’s victory and reign is not a yet-to-be-decided type of thing. It has been determined and settled. God has triumphed over the world through the cross and the empty tomb. Jesus’ resurrection means sin, death and the power of Satan have been defeated. And thus, those who oppose God will go by the way of Satan and his minions. They will flee defeated and eventually be judged and condemned. Those who are in Christ are victorious by virtue of Jesus’ love and grace. So stand firm in Christ and rest in the fact that as Christ was raised so you shall be also. Nothing can oppose those take refuge in God our Father. Spread the Good News. Jesus lives. God reigns forever and ever. Amen.

Faces

Psalm 27:7–8 (ESV) ~ Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”

Whose face do you seek? Is it the face of a political leader in hopes they will acquiesce to your demands to remake this world into your image?

Whose face do you seek? Is it the face of success in hopes you can build a nest egg in order to gain a sense of peace in this life?

Whose face do you seek? Is it the face of a false prophet who refuses to hold scripture to a high standard and thus waters it down to make it easier for you to accept?

Whose face do you seek? Is it the face of laziness so you can blindly ride the shirt-tails of cheap grace in order to enjoy the labors of others.

Whose face do you seek? Is it the face of busyness in an effort to justify yourself before others and God.

Whose face do you seek? Is it the face of a worldly fortress so as to secure rest, peace and comfort for your weary body and soul.

Whose face do you seek? Is it the face of affirmation so you can feel better about your life.

But…

These faces care nothing about you. They only look at you with disdain, apathy and disinterest. They make promises and they look good for a while, but eventually these faces become disfigured; sending you on another search for a new face.

But there is a face out there waiting for you. A face that shines brighter than the sun. A face of love. A face of grace. A face of truth. That face is Jesus. He doesn’t promise you the easy life, but he does promise you Life. Don’t be fooled. The faces of this world falsely promise you an easy life, but can go no farther. Only Jesus cares enough for you to give his life for the forgiveness of your sins that you may see God face to face someday. Don’t settle for anything less. Seek HIS face and truly be at peace.

Praying the Psalms ~ Psalm 8

READ: Psalm 8 (and again)
Oh LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
A great Psalm of praise; one to meditate on as you worship God our Father through Christ Jesus our Lord…

Oh LORD, my Lord, how majestic is Your name.
Oh Lord, how great is Your name above all names.
You reign victorious from heaven above,
And to You is the glory and all acclaim.

Your glory is the highest than anyone.
Your strength is greater and unsurpassed oh Lord.
Your victory over this world is certain,
And thus You are forever to be adored.

But who am I that You should even notice.
For I am small and a betrayer of You.
I have turned from Your ways and thus I’m condemned.
I’m a sinner and thus Your wrath has accrued.

But You have redeemed me through Jesus my Lord.
You have raised me up from the power of sin.
Oh LORD, my Lord, how majestic is Your name.
For through Your grace, in Your courts I’ll live therein.

Praying the Psalms ~ Psalm 3

READ: Psalm 3. Now read it again. One more time. Alright, we’re ready. Let’s pray…

Father God,
My foes are many; those who would oppose Your ways.
They celebrate and flaunt their success; scoffing at me and saying that I have no hope.
They claim victory; boasting of their strength. They think they are in control; that they hold the upper hand.
My foes arrogantly go on their way; secure in their positions of power; strutting in confidence; smug in their ways.
Oh Lord, my God, my foes are many.
Their numbers overwhelm me.
But You, oh God, are a shield about me.
You are my fortress.
You are my army of myriads that goes before me.
You have lifted me up and secured my life.
You have never ceased to hear and answer my cry for help.
Therefore, I will never fear the hordes that oppose me.
Day and night You are my guard.
I am at peace.
Oh Lord, my God, my foes are many but You overwhelm them.
Your enemies have been defeated and thus I am victorious.
They claim salvation is theirs.
They are wrong.
Salvation is Yours and Yours alone.
Through Jesus Christ You have saved me thus may Your blessings sustain me now and forevermore.
Through Jesus Christ my Lord I pray,
Amen.

Praying the Psalms ~ Psalm 2

I see so many people today aligning themselves with politicians in an effort to gain peace through their flawed agendas. I see leaders trying to lead but without God as their moral guide. Governments try to silence the voice of the Church. All of this and I imagine God with a smirk on His face, like I father who is fending off a four-year-old as they wrestle with him. We must remember, God is in control so therefore do not fear.

READ: Psalm 2 and then let us pray…

There is no question, oh God, that You are sovereign over all creation.
You are the Creator.
You are in control.
You are Lord of all
Yet, the nations rage, plot and scheme. They think that they are in control.
How silly that is.
They try to break free from Your rule; to cast the Church away; to be a moral lighthouse and the truth makers and keepers. Oh God, I roll my eyes with You and laugh. No one and no entity can set themselves up over You.
Why can’t they see that?
Oh Lord, my God, may Your glory be revealed among the nations.
As for me, oh Lord, sustain me as the nations rage, plot and scheme.
Place me firm upon the Rock of Jesus.
May I not be broken with those who turn away from You.
It’s You, oh God that I serve.
Help me
Keep me
Preserve me
That I may not fall away and throw my lot in with the wicked.
In Your divine grace, protect me and hold me close for Your wrath is poured out onto sinners.
Don’t pour Your wrath out on me but in the name of Jesus have mercy on me.
Oh God, my Lord, You are my refuge.
In Jesus name I pray.
Amen.

Praying the Psalms ~ Psalm 1

READ: Psalm 1

Holy God,
To walk in Your ways is to be sustained by an ever-flowing stream;
A tree that grows and blossoms and produces fruit with no end;
One, upon whom people look, and see Your glory.
To walk in Your ways is to
Wither no more.
Pant for water no more.
Die no more.
For You are the River of Life.
And so I fall to my knees to ask, plead and beg:
May I not be lured by the counsel of the wicked.
May I not take my stance with those who oppose You.
May I not find security with those who would spit and despise You or Your Church.
May I find my joy in Your Word; meditating on it and learning it.
May I be watered by You.
May I blossom and produce fruit for You.
May I live in and with You.
Oh Lord, my God, through Jesus Christ may I be blessed.
Amen.