when at a loss praying psalm-like

Sometimes life comes on us so hard in so many ways that we are at a loss. We don’t know which way to turn. We in Jesus want to follow the way of Jesus, but that can be more complicated than what might meet the eye. Yes in following Jesus we’re to take up our cross. We’re to love even our enemies, something unique to the call in Jesus. We leave vengeance in God’s hands.

One equation which may be lost to many of us raised in evangelical circles is the need to pray the psalms, or to pray psalm-like. Of course we can open our Bibles and actually pray a psalm here and there. But better yet to read them regularly, to imbibe something of their spirit, and then to offer our own prayers to God out of that.

One prayer I’ve regularly prayed in the past from the psalms when overcome with fear is “Into your hands I commit my spirit. Redeem me O Lord, the God of truth (or, my faithful God).” In the film The Passion of the Christ, Jesus is seen in the Garden of Gethsemane praying from the psalms, or psalm-like prayers, one of the numerous redeeming features in that film.

The psalms aren’t pretty. We don’t pray just the right prayers with a pious face and go on. We pray out of our gut feelings. Read the psalms. Not all the prayers in there are surely sanctioned by God, or all the lines pious in themselves. While by and large that is the case, there are numerous exceptions, so bad I don’t even like to refer or link to them here. Yes, we do well to pray for our enemies even while they’re stoning us (literally or figuratively) like Stephen of old, and if we’re going to follow the way of Jesus, we will end up praying that way. But perhaps to get there, or on our way, we might pray some prayers that are not so heavenly, or heaven for earth kind of praying. We express to God our real selves, every part of that, as we seek to entrust ourselves and our lives into his hands.

So when we are at a loss, perhaps struggling with perceived injustice and with our attitude in all of that, let’s endeavor to pray the psalms, or better yet, psalm-like. Committing our lives into the good hands of God, that we might follow in the way of our Lord Jesus.