Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Thinking Person’s Prayer

Psalm 25 is one of nine alphabetic psalms.[1] Each verse begins with one of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and was probably written in this way as an aid to memory. What is significant about this particular Psalm is that its pattern is repeated in Psalm 34.[2]

This is a prayer to God for protection, guidance, pardon and deliverance – all underpinned with a theological reflection on the nature of God. In many ways this is an extended soliloquy with God in mind. This is an invitation for a thoughtful reflection on our spiritual connection with God. It is an opportunity to put our private fears, uncertainties, and attempts at faith into words.

I am suggesting that this is a spiritually useful conversation:

Psalm 25:1  Of David.

To you, O LORD,
 I lift up my soul.

Psa 25:2  O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame;
 do not let my enemies exult over me.

Psa 25:3  Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;
 let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Psa 25:4  Make me to know your ways, O LORD;
 teach me your paths.

Psa 25:5  Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation;
 for you I wait all day long.

Psa 25:6  Be mindful of your mercy, O LORD, and of your steadfast love,
 for they have been from of old.

Psa 25:7  Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
 according to your steadfast love remember me, for your goodness' sake, O LORD!

Psa 25:8  Good and upright is the LORD;
 therefore he instructs sinners in the way.

Psa 25:9  He leads the humble in what is right,
 and teaches the humble his way.

Psa 25:10  All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness,
 for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.

Psa 25:11  For your name's sake, O LORD,
pardon my guilt, for it is great.

Psa 25:12  Who are they that fear the LORD?
He will teach them the way that they should choose.

Psa 25:13  They will abide in prosperity,
 and their children shall possess the land.

Psa 25:14  The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him,
and he makes his covenant known to them.

Psa 25:15  My eyes are ever toward the LORD,
 for he will pluck my feet out of the net.

Psa 25:16  Turn to me and be gracious to me,
 for I am lonely and afflicted.

Psa 25:17  Relieve the troubles of my heart,
 and bring me out of my distress.

Psa 25:18  Consider my affliction and my trouble,
 and forgive all my sins.

Psa 25:19  Consider how many are my foes,
 and with what violent hatred they hate me.

Psa 25:20  O guard my life, and deliver me;
do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.

Psa 25:21  May integrity and uprightness preserve me,
 for I wait for you.

Psa 25:22  Redeem Israel, O God, out of all its troubles.

Additional reflection on this prayer:
This Psalm seems to be two prayers woven together into a lament. This is both the prayer of a suffering individual who cannot find God, and as well as a communal expression of trust in God’s guidance. This Psalm has emerged over time as a prayer used in worship by the people of God. It allows us as individuals to bring our fears and distress to worship – while being held by the faith of the community.


Ordinary 24
46 Beyond Forgiveness
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 282.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day

[1] The others being Ps. 9, 10, 34, 37, 111, 112, 119, 145
[2] They both omit a couple of letters, misplace one letter, and repeat a letter. This psalm repeats vs 18-19. 

No comments:

Post a Comment