Monday, December 9, 2013

Advent, Day 9

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;
my God, I put my trust in you: 

let me not be humiliated,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
Let none who look to you be put to shame; 

let the treacherous be disappointed in their schemes.
Show me your ways, O LORD,
and teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
in you have I trusted all the day long. - Psalm 25

Do you know how to pray? No? Don't worry: it's all about intention. Do you want to pray? Do you make some time to want to pray? Then you're praying.

Many people fall back on the Lord's Prayer, and that's a fine way to go. But today, I like Psalm 25. Addressed to God, it is a prayer of humility and pure trust. The psalmist lifts up his soul, trusting that God will meet him in the middle.

The psalmist apparently has enemies, a common theme in the psalms. We may not be in as much danger for our lives, and it might seem strange to pray that God frustrate our enemies. Yet some of our worst enemies are internal: our urge to go it alone, our tendencies towards entitlement, or our need to control people. These are enemies we can certainly pray that God will frustrate.

By asking God to show us and teach us, we are saying, "OK, I'm here. I don't know what else to do. It's up to you." In this, God will not disappoint us. But it probably won't happen immediately, in this moment, and it probably won't look like anything we expect or know how to hope for.

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