Thou O God Art Praised in Zion

Saturday Psalm #31

In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge;
Let me not be ashamed;
deliver me because you are righteous.
Please listen carefully to me,
speed to my defense.
Be my rock of strength once again,
A fortress of safety.
I know you are my rock and my fortress;
I know you will lead me and guide me,
for that will glorify your name.
You will pull me from every trap that has secretly been laid for me,
for you are my strength.
Into Your hand I commit my spirit,
for you have ransomed me, O Lord, God of truth.

I detest the vain idols of this age,
for I trust in you, Lord.
I sing and dance with joy because of your lovingkindness,
because you see all of my problems,
and know all of my troubles,
and you have not let me get backed into a corner,
but have set me in a spacious, luxurious space.

Be gracious to me, O Lord, in times of stress,
when my spirits are low,
and my energy fades.
Ministry is filled with daily griefs,
and relief from sadness is only temporary.
The misery of others drains my strength,
and I tend to escape by eating everything in sight.
The Enemy of your people never sleeps,
and his pawns are always on the job,
working even through your servants, it seems.
Some see me and turn the other way.
Some ignore me as if I were dead,
as if I were a piece of furniture.
They believe—and spread—rumors about me,
and I often meet people who say they have heard of me,
and then seem to size me up,
as though wondering if I’m really
as bad as all that.

Even so, I trust in you, O Lord,
I say, "You are my God."
My times are in Your hand;
Deliver me from the hand of my Enemy
and from those who hate me.
Smile on your servant;
show me favor.
Let me not be put to shame, O Lord, for I call upon you;
instead, let the unrepentant be put to shame,
and shut the mouths of those who spread lies.

How great is your generosity, Lord,
which you show to those who revere you,
those who find shelter in you
in the sight of a watching world.
You hide me in the secret place of your presence
where I am safe from all the lying conspiracies of men;
you cover me with your wings
and mute the sound of their lies.
I bless you, Lord,
for you have blessed me in spite of every attack.
Though at times, I admit,
I have felt abandoned by you,
I know you’ve always listened to my cries,
and heard every prayer I’ve prayed.

I love you, Lord,
when I am alone and when I am gathered with the faithful.
I know you preserve the faithful
and allow the arrogant to suffer what they deserve.
With your help, I will be strong and bold,
and hope in you, Lord.

Holy Mountain

Lord, bring me today to your holy mountain,
to Mount Zion,
to the city of the living God,
the heavenly Jerusalem,
to God himself,
to Jesus,
the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people,
and to the sprinkled blood, which graciously forgives.

(based on Isaiah 66:20, Hebrews 12:22-24; painting: Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, by David Roberts in 1842, Library of Congress)

A Writer's Senryu

Here I am alone
But not alone; you are here.
Speak in the silence.


Lord God Adonai,
I'm sorry that I have so often
approached your Word
and combed your Word
and misused your Word
as a repository of rules and formulas
for me--and others, especially others--to obey,
rather than as a means of relationship,
a love note,
a sometimes whispered,
sometimes shouted,
always gracious
invitation to enter into communion with you.

For Their Peace

(my prayer today for my kids and my grandkids, from the "31 Ways to Pray for Your Kids" app for iPhone and iPad).