To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. (Psalm 25:1 NRSV)
Click on the link for the Psalm above (my links show up as red words) or find it in your favorite Bible or digital Bible or listen to Psalm :
Bonus: The Lord’s Prayer is about the amount of time you need for hand scrubbing 😉
Breath Prayer: I am including breath prayers because this is the practice that I engage in most often. Sometimes, I simply manage my breathing as I would when I was singing as a warmup and strengthening exercise. This practice helps me to feel centered, strong, and connected with myself and the divine. Sometimes, I add words or intentions for the inhalation and exhalation.
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. (Psalm 25:1 NRSV) “The metaphor portrays prayer as an act in which individuals hold their conscious identity, their life, in hands stretched out to God as a way of saying that their life depends completely and only on the help of God.” Mays p. 124
“Psalm 25 offers a model of prayer and a model of living that are increasingly difficult to appreciate or even to comprehend in the midst of a secular culture that promotes self-actualization, self-sufficiency, and instant gratification. Instead of living for self, the psalmist prays, and that prayer is an offering of his or her life to God (v.1; see Rom 12:12). Instead of depending on self and personal resources, the psalmist depends on God in trust, finding security or refuge in God (vv. 2, 20). Instead of seeking instant gratification, the psalmist is content to what for God (vv. 3, 5, 20) in the confidence that being related to God is the essence of fullness of life (vv. 5, 12-15, 21). For the psalmist, prayer is not a way to pursue what one wants. Rather, it is a means to seek God’s ways (vv. 4-5, 8-9, 12): “Thy will be done.”” NIB p. 374
Mayim Bialik video about the Jewish holiday Sukkot. In 2020, Sukkot begins at sundown on Friday, Oct. 2 and ends at sundown on Friday, Oct. 9. According to My Jewish Learning, “The enforced simplicity of eating and perhaps also living in a temporary shelter focuses our minds on the important things in life and divorces us from the material possessions of the modern world that dominate so many of our lives. Even so, Sukkot is a joyful holiday and justifiably referred to as zeman simchateynu, the “season of our joy.”” In the video she says something that reminds me of Psalm 25. “We try so hard to protect ourselves, we try to protect ourselves from rain, from heat, from pain but Sukkos reminds us that when it comes down to it we are at the mercy of a force that is much bigger than us”. While I don’t wish to “christianize” this Jewish practice, I have a little Holy Envy for the way in which this holiday allows them to recognize in a very tangible way our need for God for every aspect of living.
I wonder, what would it be like to lift up our soul, our entire being to God like the Psalmist does? What would it mean to release our control over every aspect of our life, and let God take care of all of the things we worry about? What would it mean to ask God to teach us not only what is in scripture but the way to live according to God’s covenant with us? Would it change the way we pray for ourselves and others? What would it mean for God’s priorities to become our priorities?
Let us pray:
Kristen mentioned to me that when she does a breath prayer she often thinks of whatever she is exhaling other people will inhale. So, sometimes she breathes in and breaths out the same idea with the hope that what she receives from God, she can share with others. For example, you may imagine receiving God’s steadfast love while praying that others are receiving God’s steadfast love.
God fill me with your Holy spirit. I receive your will and release my control. You can always pick different words for your breath prayer. But the idea of a breath prayer is to keep it simple so I encourage you to simply find one word for each inhale and one word for each exhale.
Ok, everyone take a deep breath. Breath in. Breath out. Breath in. Breath out. Repeat as needed.
Sources and notes:
“Psalm 25 offers a model of prayer and a model of living that are increasingly difficult to appreciate or even to comprehend in the midst of a secular culture that promotes self-actualization, self-sufficiency, and instant gratification. Instead of living for self, the psalmist prays, and that prayer is an offering of his or her life to God (v.1; see Rom 12:12). Instead of depending on self an personal resources, the psalmist depends on God in trust, finding security or refuge in God (vv. 2, 20). Instead of seeking instant gratification, the psalmist is content to what for God (vv. 3, 5, 20) in the confidence that being related to God is the essence of fullness of life (vv. 5, 12-15, 21). For the psalmist, prayer is not a way to pursue what one wants. Rather, it is a means to seek God’s ways (vv. 4-5, 8-9, 12): “They will be done.”” NIB p. 374
“The metaphor portrays prayer as an act in which individuals hold their conscious identity, their life, in hands stretched out to God as a way of saying that their life depends completely and only on the help of God.” Mays p. 124
“The psalm is among those in which first person singular style has a corporate dimension. The prayer is the voice of an individual whose troubles and hopes are those of the whole people. It leads individuals to pray in solidarity with the whole people of God, an date congregation to pray in the unity of an individual identity.” Mays p. 125
“The arrangement of the psalm’s first lines follows the order of the Hebrew alphabet. …. The petitions for the LORD to be the teacher of the one who prays use virtually every available verb in the vocabulary of instruction. …. The device has been used to the poet’s purpose to read a genuine and poignant prayer that gathers up the needs and hopes of the people who live in the midst of opposition to their faith, fearing the dangers of history, aware of their sinfulness, but trusting in the LORD and living out of hope in the LORD’s salvation.” Mays pp. 125-156
“This is one of the psalms that sees clearly that the torah of the LORD, his instruction of those who fear him, is part of God’s saving work and completes the salvation of liberation and justification with sanctification” Mays p. 127
“The psalm taught Israel to seek the grace and salvation given in the torah. It teaches the church to pray fro the Spirit to bring into our lives not only the power an mercy of God but as well a being-taught the way we are to live through the knowledge of God’s ways with us.” Mays p. 127
WBC Allen, Leslie C. 1983. Word Biblical Commentary: Psalms 101-150. Vol. 21. Waco, TX: Word Books, Publisher.
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. 1974. Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible. 8th ed. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Press.
Brueggemann, Walter. 2007. Praying the Psalms: Engaging Scripture and the Life of the Spirit. 2nd ed. Eugene, OR: Cascade.
Brueggemann Brueggemann, Walter. 2014. From Whom No Secrets Are Hid: Introducing the Psalms. Edited by Brent A. Strawn. 1st ed. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.
WBC Craigie, Peter C. 1983. Psalms 1-50–Word Biblical Commentary. Vol. 19. Waco, TX: Word Books.
Creach, Jerome Frederick Davis. 1998. Psalms: Interpretation Bible Studies. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.
NIB Keck, Leander E. 2015. The New Interpreters Bible Commentary. Vol. 3. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.
Mays Mays, James Luther. 1994. Psalms. Louisville, KY: John Knox Press.
McCann, J. C., & Howell, J. C. 2001. Preaching the Psalms. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.
Miller Miller, Patrick D. 1986. Interpreting the Psalms. Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press.
Spong Spong, M. (Ed.). (2020). The words of her mouth: Psalms for the struggle. Cleveland, OH: The Pilgrim Press.
WBC Tate, Marvin E. 1990. Word Biblical Commentary: Psalms 51-100. Edited by David Allan. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker. Vol. 20. Waco, TX: Word.
OTL Weiser, Artur. 1998. Old Testament Library: Psalms. Translated by Herbert Hartwell. 3rd ed. New York, NY: Manchester University Press.
Other Year D Psalm blog posts:
I’m attempting a series exploring the Psalms in year D. Many churches use the revised common lectionary that rotates scripture on a three-year cycle (A, B, and C). Year D was created with the goal of including scriptures that were left out or not used as frequently as others.
I began this series in Lent 2020. These blog posts include examples of meditation or spiritual discipline or mindfulness exercises. Here are the links: Ash Wednesday: Psalm 102; 1st Sunday in Lent: Psalm 6; 2nd Sunday in Lent: Psalm 143; 3rd Sunday in Lent: Psalm 38; 4th Sunday in Lent: Psalm 39; 5th Sunday in Lent: Psalm 101; 6th Sunday in Lent Psalm 94 or Psalm 35. I went a different direction during Holy Week and dropped the Psalms for a while, but I’m hoping to pick them back up again.
I’m going to try to move forward with the Psalms so that it might be useful for worship in the coming weeks and hoping that I can also go back and pick up some of the ones I missed.
The Season of Easter: Resurrection of the Lord (Easter) Psalm 71:15-24 or Psalm 75 or Psalm 76, 2nd Sunday in Easter Psalm 64 or Psalm 119:73-96, 3rd Sunday in Easter Psalm 60 or 108, 4th Sunday in Easter Psalm 10, 5th Sunday in Easter Psalm 49: (1-12) 13-20, 6thSunday in Easter Psalm 129, Ascension Thursday Psalm 119:145-176, 7th Sunday in Easter Psalm 115, and Pentecost Sunday Psalm 119:113-136.
Then we move into “ordinary time” which is broken up into sections throughout the liturgical year. Remember that the year starts with Advent (I started this adventure in Lent) so some of the ordinary Sundays have already happened.
Trinity -Ordinary Time- Christ the King: Trinity Sunday Psalm 35, 9th Sunday in Ordinary time Psalm 142, 10th Sunday in Ordinary time Psalm 74, 11th Sunday Psalm 7, 12th Sunday Psalm 55, 13th Sunday Psalm 56, and 14th Sunday Psalm 57 or Psalm 3.
The Apocalyptic Discourse 15th -19th Sundays in Ordinary time: 15th Sunday Psalm 17:8-14(15) or Psalm 83, 16th Sunday Psalm 54, 17th Sunday Psalm 50 or Psalm 105, 18thSunday Psalm 59, and 19th Sunday Psalm 37.
The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ 24th – 33rd Sundays in Ordinary time: 24th Sunday Psalm 92, 25th Sunday Psalm 25:11-22, 26th Sunday Psalm 136, 27th Sunday Psalm 41, 29th Sunday Psalm 38 or Psalm 55, 30th Sunday Psalm 33: (1-10) 13-22, 31st Sunday Psalm 31 or Psalm 40, 32nd Sunday Psalm 71:15-24, 33rd Sunday Psalm 77, Christ the King Psalm 87 and Psalm 117, and All Saints Day Psalm 107.