Psalm 25 (B)

Psalm 25

I offer you my heart, Lord God, and I trust you. Psalm 25:1-2a (CEV)

Click on the link for the Psalm above for the text or listen to Psalm 25:

Reflection:

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. (Psalm 25:1 NRSV) or I offer you my heart, Lord God (Psalm 25:1 CEV). “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

From: Spong, M. (Ed.). (2020). The words of her mouth: Psalms for the struggle. Cleveland, OH: The Pilgrim Press. A reflection on Psalm 25 by Kentina Washington-Leapheart. She has the word [how] in brackets. You can read her reflection with or without that word. See how it strikes you when read each way.

What I Need

O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame. Psalm 25:2

It has only been since I got “good and grown” that I have learned [how] to ask for what I need. Maturity and a close relationship with disappointment have a way of expediting things. I have learned the steps to the delicate have-not-because-you-ask-not dance. My closed mouth has stood in the way of being fed; Fear and shame has been a bigger obstacle than the ask itself. Lord, show me that embarrassment is not the worst thing that could ever happen to me and that there is no shame in asking boldly. O God, help me to learn [how] to be hopeful for the “yes” and [how] to live with the “no.” O Lord, teach me how to trust.

Kentina Washington-Leapheart

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?

I wonder, what would it be like to completely trust in God? To tell God what I need and to trust that God will provide? What could it mean to rely on God completely and release my “control” over my life? [How] would it change my prayers? [How] would it change my priorities?

Prayer:

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.  

Nicole Cardoza’s Guided Meditation For Anxiety
Try this short meditation, created by Yoga Foster and Reclamation Ventures founder Nicole Cardoza, the next time you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious.  Read in Yoga Journal.

Mr. Roger’s “Taking a breath”  This one is short, but Mr. Roger’s voice is calming for me (and many Pittsburghers) and even his virtual presence can summon childhood memories of calmness and safety.  

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.

Another way to think about breath prayer is to pick something you would like to receive for your inhalation and something you would like to release for your exhalation. The idea is to keep it simple, so I encourage you to simply find one word for each inhale and one word for each exhale. That simple prayer could be something like this: God fill me with your Holy spirit. I receive your care and release my control.

Or you may want to use a short phrase: I offer you my heart, Lord God, and I trust you. Do not let me be put to shame.

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.

W de Claisse-Walford, Nancy L. WISDOM COMMENTARY: Psalms Bks. 4-5. Edited by Barbara E. Reid. Vol. 22. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical, 2020. 

W Hopkins, Denise Dombkowski. WISDOM COMMENTARY: Psalms Bks. 2-3. Edited by Barbara E. Reid. Vol. 21. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical, 2016. 

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.

I began writing Psalm reflections during Lent of 2020 shortly after we decided to close the church building, work from home, and worship via zoom.  Many churches use the revised common lectionary that rotates scripture on a three-year cycle (A, B, and C).  Starting in Advent 2019, Third Church decided to worship with the texts from Year D, which is still not circulated as are years 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. Reflections exploring the Psalms in year D.  While we were using Year D, most other lectionary followers were using Year A.  Now that we are rejoining those who use the lectionary, we are on Year B.  This we hope will keep all of us planning and preparing worship on the same page.  

I use the Vanderbilt Divinity Library’s resource for lectionary readings to make text selections when I’m following the Revised Common Lectionary.

Other Year B Psalm blog posts:

Advent – Transfiguration: 1st Sunday in Advent Psalm 80, 2nd Sunday in Advent Psalm 85, 3rd Sunday in Advent Psalm 126, 4th Sunday in Advent Psalm 89, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day Psalm 96, Psalm 97, Psalm 98, 1st Sunday after Christmas, Psalm 148, New Year’s Day Psalm 8, 2nd Sunday after Christmas Psalm 147, Epiphany Psalm 72, 1st Sunday after Epiphany Psalm 29, 2nd Sunday after Epiphany Psalm 139, 3rd Sunday after Epiphany Psalm 62, 4th Sunday after Epiphany Psalm 111, 5th Sunday after Epiphany Psalm 147, Transfiguration Sunday (Sunday before Lent) Psalm 50

Lent: Ash Wednesday Psalm 51, 1st Sunday in Lent Psalm 25, 2nd Sunday in Lent Psalm 22, 3rd Sunday in Lent Psalm 19, 4th Sunday in Lent Psalm 107, 5th Sunday in Lent Psalm 51 or Psalm 119:9-16, 6th Sunday in Lent (Palm or Passion Sunday) Psalm 118 or 31

Holy Week: Monday Psalm 36, Tuesday Psalm 71, Wednesday Psalm 70, Maundy Thursday Psalm 116, Good Friday Psalm 22, Holy Saturday Psalm 31

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