Psalm 3 (NRSV)
“O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me;
many are saying to me, “There is no help for you in God.” Selah
But you, O Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the one who lifts up my head.
I cry aloud to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy hill. Selah
I lie down and sleep; I wake again, for the Lord sustains me.
I am not afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.
Rise up, O Lord! Deliver me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked. Deliverance belongs to the Lord; may your blessing be on your people! Selah”
In simple, conversational prayer, we are the focus. Sometimes the things we talk to God about are petty, sometimes overwhelming. We come to him with all the concerns of our lives, our frustration with coworkers, our children’s struggles at school, our troubled marriages and friendships, our questions about how to live and love, our confessions when we fail. It’s repetitive and it’s daily and it’s ordinary and that’s ok. Though some may call it beginning prayer, it’s a comfortable place for us to come back to again and again. Prayer isn’t something we master in a 12-week course or a four year degree, or ever. It’s an ongoing invitation into relationship.
In praying conversationally, we can take a lesson from the psalmists, who came to God with every possible emotion. The psalms are written honestly and confessionally as the real stuff of their lives unfolded and was laid bare: fear, shame, abandonment, hope, heartache, joy, betrayal, grief, love. It’s all there in the pages of the psalms as honestly as any modern day blog we might read. That’s what I love most about them. I can relate. Praying the psalms is a way we can take something with which we identify and make it our own. You can pray the psalms word for word, or talk to God about the portions that most impacted you.
Today’s Prayer Practice: Praying From the Heart
What resonates with you in this psalm? What emotions do you hear in the psalmist’s words? Are you comfortable sharing your feelings with God? Do you think he cares about the details of your life, or do you find yourself self-editing and bringing only what you think he would want to hear? How has he sustained you through hard times? Is he the one you run to for help? What do you want to say to him right now?