Thursday, April 23, 2015

Prayer in the Noise

The appointed Psalm for this Wednesday is Psalm 38.  In the Bost house, it was read aloud in the living room: me and the boys praying the Morning Office “together.”  I put together in quotes because their participation today was intermittent at best.   Our youngest loves his lines from the Easter greeting:  “He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!”  But beyond that, this morning prayer time was mostly Daddy offering prayers to God amidst the chaos and the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

But Psalm 38 is the psalm for this type of prayer.  We tend to think of prayer as a quiet and contemplative act (and indeed, it often is), but many of the psalms are prayers for those in turmoil.  And for many of us, there are no quiet times of the day to pray. So, if you’re in a stage of life without much quiet (either filled with literal noise or with the noise of the soul), let me offer a few reflections from Psalm 38.  

It is a prayer for those ….

  • Who are painfully aware of their sin and weaknesses:  In years past, this Psalm was for when my inner sins were too great for me to bear.  These seasons of realization are a mercy from God.  So it was this morning:  "O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath! For your arrows have sunk into me, and your hand has come down on me. There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink and fester because of my foolishness, I am utterly bowed down and prostrate; all the day I go about mourning. For my sides are filled with burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart." (Psalms 38:1–8) 

  • Who battle with anger at the evils of this world:  This is a psalm, a prayer, for times when the world out there, especially as I see it on the news or on social media, seems so corrupt and twisted.  Because I’m a passionate person, this causes anger to rise up within me, and I often struggle to quell it.  This psalm gives me words to express my heart and gives me something to do with anger:  "But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear, like a mute man who does not open his mouth. I have become like a man who does not hear, and in whose mouth are no rebukes. But for you, O LORD, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer." (Psalms 38:13–15)

  • Who struggle with loneliness in a crowd:   In the loneliness of life, this Psalm gives me words to say to the One who is always near: "My heart throbs; my strength fails me, and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me. My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague, and my nearest kin stand far off…. O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. Do not forsake me, O LORD! O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!" (Psalms 38:10-11, 8-9, 21-22)

1 comment:

Jeff Harvey said...

Oh, my, does Psalm 38:13-15 ring so true in my heart. It's the "waiting" I suppose that is the tough part for me but I know He is coming, and with rebuke indeed. Thanks for the message.
Jeff Harvey