The Psalms are prayed by most Christian faiths, some of them much more often than others. We have favorites for celebrations, for the beauty of nature and for funerals. Sometimes it is difficult to understand a certain Psalm, as when the Psalmist seems to be angry at God, continues to ask, “Why are you doing this to us?” or demands that God kill enemies.
A Jewish instructor explains the Psalms as prayers that either express lament or praise to God from the Jewish people who had a covenant with God. God had given His word to the people that they would be led to the Promised Land, and the people promised to worship only the one true God. The people considered God their friend, and true friends can say anything to one another, tell each other if they are angry, ask for answers, give praise and even become emotional and transparent. The instructor explained that is how the Jewish people pray the Psalms, and you can certainly express to God what you would to your very best friend on earth and in the same manner. This learning gave new light to me in praying the Psalms.
In today’s reading of Psalm 26:11-12 we pray: “But I walk in integrity; redeem me, and have mercy on me. My foot stands on level ground; in the assemblies I will bless the Lord.” Our refrain is verse 3: “O Lord, your mercy is before my eyes.”
This prayer makes me think of my integrity and the times I have not spoken when I should have or not performed an action I knew was called for. God hears my plea for mercy and redemption. I say my foot stands on level ground, and I am balanced in keeping my promises to God. I believe God keeps promises made to me. When I pray this Psalm, I think of assemblies as the meetings I attend as well as worship services. I pray my words and thoughts and actions will always praise and thank my God.
Sr. Joan Reichelt
Senior Vice President of Culture, Avera