Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 86’

Not very long ago, I wrote about praying the 86th psalm. I believe in the power of prayer, but sometimes I’m surprised by the way it actually plays out. Today, one of the ones about whom I (and others) had been praying showed at my office with a bag of tomatoes…just for me. It’s not the answer I expected, but maybe it means that reconciliation is beginning to happen. Whatever the case, thanks be to God!


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Trouble in paradise, I guess. I recently learned that one of the folks at my church who was pretty vocal about not having a woman pastor (ironically, a woman) is no more impressed with me than she was a year ago. Not only that, but she’s getting more and more vocal about it–trying to convince others to join her cause. Lots of little things have been going on, but the other evening, it came before my session that “somebody” was wondering if I’ve been moonlighting at the presbytery, when I should be working at the church. I know the look on my face must’ve been fabulous, as I was sitting there thinking “Ummm…when exactly would I have time to do that? On a SLOW week, I’m working over 40 hours… I’m being a terrible wife because I don’t even have time to spend with my husband. And IF I were going to “moonlight”, I’d sure do it some place where I could make some money, thanks anyway.”
I know that this is just a ploy– it’s a tiny peace. But, it really hurt. I’m pouring my heart and soul into the church, and trying to help be a shepherd in the ways that God is leading me. I don’t want to be in the middle of church politics, I really just want to preach the Good News that God loves each of us infinitely more than we can imagine, and that because of that we are set free.

Sometimes God works in funny ways. After I told a beloved colleague and mentor all of this, he told me that earlier that morning when he had been having his quiet time, the liturgy of the hours prescribed that he read the 86th psalm. As he did, he thought of me ( I think without even knowing about any particular drama.)

As I read it, it really seemed to fit. I guess, not knowing what else to pray, I’ve been praying this for the last few days. Here is The Message’s rendering of it:

1-7 Bend an ear, God; answer me. I’m one miserable wretch!
Keep me safe—haven’t I lived a good life?
Help your servant—I’m depending on you!
You’re my God; have mercy on me.
I count on you from morning to night.
Give your servant a happy life;
I put myself in your hands!
You’re well-known as good and forgiving,
bighearted to all who ask for help.
Pay attention, God, to my prayer;
bend down and listen to my cry for help.
Every time I’m in trouble I call on you,
confident that you’ll answer.

8-10 There’s no one quite like you among the gods, O Lord,
and nothing to compare with your works.
All the nations you made are on their way,
ready to give honor to you, O Lord,
Ready to put your beauty on display,
parading your greatness,
And the great things you do—
God, you’re the one, there’s no one but you!

11-17 Train me, God, to walk straight;
then I’ll follow your true path.
Put me together, one heart and mind;
then, undivided, I’ll worship in joyful fear.
From the bottom of my heart I thank you, dear Lord;
I’ve never kept secret what you’re up to.
You’ve always been great toward me—what love!
You snatched me from the brink of disaster!
God, these bullies have reared their heads!
A gang of thugs is after me—
and they don’t care a thing about you.
But you, O God, are both tender and kind,
not easily angered, immense in love,
and you never, never quit.
So look me in the eye and show kindness,
give your servant the strength to go on,
save your dear, dear child!
Make a show of how much you love me
so the bullies who hate me will stand there slack-jawed,
As you, God, gently and powerfully
put me back on my feet.

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