Psalm 41:1 Happy are those who consider the poor;
the Lord delivers them in the day of trouble.
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 41:
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.
Happiness belongs to those who are like God! God is love.
41:1-3 (CEB) Those who pay close attention to the poor are truly happy!
The Lord rescues them during troubling times.
2 The Lord protects them and keeps them alive;
they are widely regarded throughout the land as happy people.
You won’t hand them over to the will of their enemies.
3 The Lord will strengthen them when they are lying in bed, sick.
You will completely transform the place where they lie ill.
Happiness belongs to those who are like God because they take care of each other.
Let us pray:
One way to think about breath prayer is that whatever is exhaled other people will inhale. So, sometimes we might inhale and exhale the same idea with the hope that what we receive from God, we 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 love and release my indifference. 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 41 is composed of four distinct elements. There is an extended beatitude describing the LORD’s approval of and help for those who are concerned about the weak (vv. 1-3). A frequent purpose of a beatitude is to instruct … here it introduces a prayer and shifts to the prayers style of direct address to God in the final measures of verses 2 and 3. The prayer that begins at verse 4 is a prayer for help in first person singular style. Petitions for the gracious mercy of the LORD (vv. 4, 10) open and conclude a lament over hostility show to the one who prayers (vv. 5-9). The prayer begins with a quotation formula that identifies the prayer as one said in the past. The third element is thankful praise that the prayer just quoted has been answered (vv. 11-12; this classification depends on translating the verbs in these verses in the past tense). The fourth element it the doxology of verse 13, which marks the conclusion of book 1 of the Psalms” Mays p. 171
“The psalm appears to be a prayer of thanksgiving said when the prayer for help had been answered.” Mays p. 171
“The lesson taught by the psalm is that concern for the poor and needy, the helpless and the weak, is righteousness. God is like that. The LORD’s people should be like that.” Mays p. 172
“As the conclusion of Book I, Psalm 41 forms with Psalm 1 an appropriate frame for the whole. Both psalms begin with beatitude. While Psalm 1 commends openness to God’s instruction, Psalm 41 commends openness to the need so others. The two beatitudes are not contradictory but complementary. In effect, then, the framework of Book I portrays happy persons as those who love God and love neighbor.” NIB pp. 421-422
Another link between Psalm 1 and Psalm 41 is that “Book I opens with a portrayal of those who delight in God, and it concludes with an affirmation of God’s delighting in the psalmist. The effect is to articulate the mutuality of the relationship between God and humanity. From the human side, the essence of the relationship is trusting or taking refuge in God, which is the subject of the beatitudes in Pss 2:12; 34:8; 40:4. From the divine side, the relationship is grounded in the way God is: fundamentally gracious and steadfastly loving… In particular, God is committed to those persons variously descried in Book I as weak, poor, needy, afflicted, humble, meek, and oppressed. In short, God helps those who cannot help themselves (see Psalm 3). This conviction underlies both the appeal and the opening beatitude in Psalm 41. In essence, happiness belongs to those who are like God–those who consider the poor.” NIB p. 422
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.
Schlimm Schlimm, Matthew Richard. 2018. 70 Hebrew Words Every Christian Should Know. Nashville, TN: Abington 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, 18th Sunday 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, 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.