“To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exult over me…Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long.” —Psalm 25:1-5
The Lectionary* brings us into prayer. All of scripture is meant to point us to and carry us into God’s presence. The Book of Psalms does this more directly than perhaps any other section of the Bible. In Psalm 25 we listen to the words of David as he cries out to God. Psalm 25 is more than a spontaneous prayer, it is a well-considered poem. The psalm is a Hebrew acoustic with each of the 22 lines starting with a letter from the Hebrew alphabet (which has 22 letters). This poetic device would aid in the memorization of the prayer but is unfortunately lost in the translation to English. In fact, a lot of the poetry inherent to the psalms is lost in the translation. Fortunately, people like Nan Merrill help us to reclaim the poetry of the psalms and connect us to their original purpose.
Nan Merrill was an author, spiritual director, retreat leader, and minister to the incarcerated. She is perhaps best known for her book, Psalms for Praying. In the introduction to her book she writes, “Praying the Psalms with heartfelt attention and intention can be a step toward our souls awakening to the Love Consciousness being brought into the light out of the ashes of terror and destruction in our day. To pray is to be transformed…May the prayers of all who read, pray, or sing the Psalms help awaken us to the Peace of the Beloved indwelling in every soul.”
Leaning upon the language of 1 John 4 that “God is love” Nan translates the psalms is a way that inspires us to pray again.
To You, O Love, I life up my soul!
Heart within my heart, in You I place my trust.
Let me not feel unworthy; let not fear rule over me.
Yes! May all who open their hearts savor You and bless the earth!
Compel me to know your ways, O Love; instruct me upon your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me, for through You will I know wholeness; I shall reflect your Light both day and night.
I know of your mercy, Blessed One, and of your unconditional Love; You have been with me from the beginning.
Forgive the many times I have walked away from You choosing to follow my own will.
I seek your guidance, once again, I yearn to know your Peace.
Companion me as I open to your Will!
* = The Lectionary is a set pattern of Bible readings. Every week the lectionary highlights four readings from Bible (one from the: Old Testament, Psalms, Gospels, and Epistles). Every three years the lectionary repeats the readings.