praying the Psalms: Psalm 119
a prayer contributed by Jeremy Noel; selections from Psalm 119: verses 9-16
My God, my Father, how can a young man, how can I, keep my way pure?
Because every day, I wake up to a world that tells me it has the answers. It tells me that more money will be my security. That others don’t matter, I have to do what makes me feel good. That my value is determined by how well I perform, by what others think of me, by how many women I have. That sex will satisfy me, gratify me.That in the end, nothing matters, your life can be taken by a man who has no reason, but has a gun. So live now, and live loud. Live life and never look back, because all that matters is me.
But Your Word, Your Word stands against, and in it there is strength, there is a truth greater than every lie the world tells me. Your Word speaks of a love that compels, a grace that is relentless, a true identity in one name, Jesus. Yes, Jesus, the Christ, and in Him I am complete. And in Him, I am righteous, I am satisfied, I am pure.
And I have, with all my heart sought you...for a time. Until it gets too hard. Until I watch children gunned down because of hatred without reason.Until I turn on the news and it appears that the world will tear itself apart. And my heart grieves. And as in my quiet place I let tears fall, I can’t help but ask: Why do you allow all this pain? And I feel my heart drift, because I do not understand, and I demand to understand. And I hear the enemy say in the sound of my voice, “Why serve this God? Why follow Him?”
So do not let me wander from Your commandments! Do not let me leave Your presence. In my doubt, I cry out, “Father, I do not see you here! I need to feel you here, do not let me disappear. Speak to my heart, because I do not know where to start. Because I do not know how to continue on, I feel an emptiness in the heaviness of life.”
And then You speak Your Word. A Word of hope. A Word: Christ. Yes, Jesus, the Christ. The eternal Son of God, who shed His Glory for me. Who stepped down from the riches of heaven, to the depravity of this world, because He loved this world. Because He refused to let us find the fate we deserve, to live an empty life of pain according to our sin. He chose to take upon himself shame, to let His creation whip him, beat him, tear His flesh from His bones. Spit on Him, Curse Him, lash him with glass shards raking savagely through His back. And as they drove spikes through His bones, pinning Him to a tree, a spectacle for all to see, He thought of this world, He thought of me and said “I love you. I have loved you since before time was, I love you far more than you have hated me.”
And these words, I treasure. These Words I hold dear. They do not answer every question I possess, but they speak to my unrest. In this act of greatest love, I am assured, You care more for this world than I could ever know. Though I still have questions, I know, Your trustworthiness is unquestionable and Your faithfulness immeasurable. And as I see your love, I long to never sin against you. I no longer want to live out the hatred of God that persecuted you. I know I was the reason you suffered. I was the reason, I was the living treason. I am the reason you came here. Oh, Bless your Name. Your Holy Name, that you did not give me what I deserved. That You did not treat me fairly. No, you treated me in a grace, incomprehensible.
And it shakes me to the core. It is a power I cannot ignore. With my lips, I will speak your praise, I will share your ways, I want all to know of this grace. In your gospel I will rejoice forever. Nothing can compare, no monetary satisfaction, no relationship, no amount of approval from those who see me, will ever be more to me than who You are. And as the Sovereign, you breathed words of Hope, you spoke the Words that answered my cry of pain.
Yes! You spoke hope.
You are the Hope. My Savior, My Life, Jesus Christ, the mercy of God.
I shall not forget You, the Living Word, who with a grace relentless, raptured me into love, and life.
And one day I will see Your face, and in that sacred place, I will fall prostrate and proclaim: Holy. Holy. Holy. You are Holy.