For the last forty years, my prayer time has started with the Psalms. And for forty years they have alternately given me hope and then pulled that rug of hope from beneath me. They make great promises, but when I pray them with honest self-reflection, the promises fade away.
Look at the hopeful assurances offered:
- Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear. (Ps. 27:3)
- The Lord preserves the simple. When I was brought low, he saved me. (Ps. 116:6)
- The Lord is my Shephard; I shall not want. (Ps. 23:1)
The problem is simple: these promises seem reserved for Saint Francis, not me:
- The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me. (Ps. 18:20)
- Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit! (Ps. 17:1)
- If I have repaid my friend with evil … let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it, and let him trample my life to the ground. [YIKES!!] (Ps. 7:4-5)
When I try to pray phrases like, “I have trusted in the Lord without wavering,” the words dribble out of my mouth and splatter on the floor.