reflecting prayers of the psalms

There are times when I simply am trying to hold on. When much if not all seems lost and life seems difficult. When others may be in grave situations, or maybe one’s self. And when grace just doesn’t seem to be getting through.

We need to be in all of scripture consistently and over time, and the psalms is no exception. Some of the psalms are beautiful and idyllic, Psalm 23 and 72 come to mind. Others contain lines that are either awful, or seem beneath what a Christian ought to be experiencing. “After all, aren’t we people of the light? Then how can we struggle with darkness?” one might ask. And I’m thinking here not of darkness due to overt sin, although sometimes it’s hard to know where the line of sin is crossed. But by simply living in this world, one’s experience will have some valleys, maybe deep dark ones.

Today, as I ponder life in my neck of the woods and beyond, I will take some consolation that whatever darkness I feel is well reflected in the following psalm. And will conclude with “the Lord’s prayer.”

A song. A psalm of the Sons of Korah. For the director of music. According to mahalath leannoth. A maskil of Heman the Ezrahite.

Lord, you are the God who saves me;
day and night I cry out to you.
May my prayer come before you;
turn your ear to my cry.
I am overwhelmed with troubles
and my life draws near to death.
I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
I am like one without strength.
I am set apart with the dead,
like the slain who lie in the grave,
whom you remember no more,
who are cut off from your care.
You have put me in the lowest pit,
in the darkest depths.
Your wrath lies heavily on me;
you have overwhelmed me with all your waves.
You have taken from me my closest friends
and have made me repulsive to them.
I am confined and cannot escape;
my eyes are dim with grief.
I call to you, Lord, every day;
I spread out my hands to you.
Do you show your wonders to the dead?
Do their spirits rise up and praise you?
Is your love declared in the grave,
your faithfulness in Destruction?
Are your wonders known in the place of darkness,
or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion?
But I cry to you for help, Lord;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
Why, Lord, do you reject me
and hide your face from me?
From my youth I have suffered and been close to death;
I have borne your terrors and am in despair.
Your wrath has swept over me;
your terrors have destroyed me.
All day long they surround me like a flood;
they have completely engulfed me.
You have taken from me friend and neighbor—
darkness is my closest friend.

Psalm 88

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one,
for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Matthew 6

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