By Kristen Gunn
A Reading from Psalms 70 and 71
1 Be pleased, O God, to deliver me;
O LORD, make haste to help me.
2 Let those who seek my life be ashamed
and altogether dismayed;
let those who take pleasure in my misfortune
draw back and be disgraced.
3 Let those who say to me “Aha!” and gloat over me turn back,
because they are ashamed.
4 Let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you;
let those who love your salvation say for ever,
“Great is the LORD!”
5 But as for me, I am poor and needy;
come to me speedily, O God.
6 You are my helper and my deliverer;
O LORD, do not tarry.
1 In you, O LORD, have I taken refuge;
let me never be ashamed.
2 In your righteousness, deliver me and set me free;
incline your ear to me and save me.
3 Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe;
you are my crag and my stronghold.
4 Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the clutches of the evildoer and the oppressor.
5 For you are my hope, O LORD God,
my confidence since I was young.
6 I have been sustained by you ever since I was born;
from my mother’s womb you have been my strength;
my praise shall be always of you.
7 I have become a portent to many;
but you are my refuge and my strength.
8 Let my mouth be full of your praise
and your glory all the day long.
9 Do not cast me off in my old age;
forsake me not when my strength fails.
10 For my enemies are talking against me,
and those who lie in wait for my life take counsel together.
11 They say, “God has forsaken him;
go after him and seize him;
because there is none who will save.”
12 O God, be not far from me;
come quickly to help me, O my God.
13 Let those who set themselves against me be put to shame and
let those who seek to do me evil be covered with scorn
14 But I shall always wait in patience,
and shall praise you more and more.
15 My mouth shall recount your mighty acts
and saving deeds all day long;
though I cannot know the number of them.
16 I will begin with the mighty works of the Lord GOD;
I will recall your righteousness, yours alone.
17 O God, you have taught me since I was young,
and to this day I tell of your wonderful works.
18 And now that I am old and gray-headed, O God, do not
till I make known your strength to this generation
and your power to all who are to come.
19 Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens;
you have done great things;
who is like you, O God?
20 You have showed me great troubles and adversities,
but you will restore my life
and bring me up again from the deep places of the earth.
21 You strengthen me more and more;
you enfold and comfort me,
22 Therefore I will praise you upon the lyre for your
faithfulness, O my God;
I will sing to you with the harp, O Holy One of Israel.
23 My lips will sing with joy when I play to you,
and so will my soul, which you have redeemed.
24 My tongue will proclaim your righteousness all day long,
for they are ashamed and disgraced who sought
to do me harm.
In recent years, Psalms 70 and 71 have become some of my most cherished to pray — especially when I feel I’m facing some kind of resistance moving forward “in the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14) we Christians all alike have received.
It isn’t that I find myself in the specific sour circumstances (or the particular old age) our psalmist is experiencing. But those who walk with God — all of us — will face trials particular to our own lives if we truly follow him. “In this world you will have trouble,” Jesus promised his first disciples. “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
These two psalms give us the gift of a pattern for prayer in the midst of our difficulties. First: Cry out to God, the Father of justice and the source of all love and truth. Second: Pray against the forces of darkness — the demons, as early Christians received and understood to be the objects of the imprecatory psalms — that oppose the children of God in this world. Third: Pray for the friends of God — and that God be praised as the result of our being brought through these trials whole (even healed) and alive. Fourth: Remember. Remember our place — our poverty and our smallness — and the comparative more-than-enough-ness of the God who has taken action (and will do so again) to save us.
Beyond that: Take refuge; hope; wait in patience; and train your mind on God’s acts and God’s praise. It will help. It will change you. And more than that, it will change things, to the glory of the One who gave us our prayer — who is “the Ground of thy beseeching,” as God identified himself to Dame Julian — in the first place.
Kristen Gunn is a lay leader and has an M.T.S. from Nashotah House Theological Seminary. In her free time she enjoys learning Latin and kayaking as much as possible.
To receive a TLC Daily Devotional in your inbox each morning, click here.
Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer
Today we pray for:
The Diocese of Madhya Kerala – The (united) Church of South India
Bible and Common Prayer Book Society, Red Bank, N.J.