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Contemporary Prayers on Psalm 23

27 Nov

The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want

I want! Lord, I want! 

I want happiness in my life. I want freedom from fatigue and tiredness.

I want a job that fulfills my life.

I want to feel good.

I want stuff: A keyboard, with 88 weighted keys, and a thousand voices, and a nice amp.  A video camera, fancy software, and all the stuff to make movies.    I want clothes, and cars, and food, and toys, and stuff.

I want to be a good pastor and shepherd.

I want people to like me and think well of me.

I want to be a good husband and father, all the time, everyday.

I want to be free from sin, evil thoughts, temptations, and the like.

I want to be free from drivenness, from perfection that tells me everything has to be just right.

I want to be free to be me.

 I want Lord! I want!

Yet, because You are my shepherd, I release all my want to You, letting go to You, trusting in You. I have everything; I have all that I need.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters,

O Lord, make me lie down, lead me to still waters.

For I am up and around; like Martha who would serve instead of sit.I am doing things, doing this and that for You Lord; don’t You see. And yet there is no rest, for the service is never done, and in the midst of it all…I begin to wonder if I serve You at all. 

Make me to lie down, over there Lord; in green pastures,

the ones that you have grown, the ones that don’t require my work.

Lead me, beside still waters, for my days have been like a rushing river, after the clouds opened up on the earth.

The pace has been swift and endless, life has been whitewaters.

So lead me beside still waters.  Peaceful waters.

He restores my soul

Restore Lord.  Yes! Restore!

He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name sake.

Guide me O Lord, in paths of righteousness.

For living in a world of unrighteousness tempts me and calls me to unrighteous living:  in thought, in motive, in plan, in action, in desire, in reality. 

I am not righteous…I cannot stay on the path without Your grace.

Lord, be my guide.  Lord, be my righteousness. Lead me in Your way, for the glory of Your name.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod and Your staff they comfort me.

The shadow of death? Lord, most certainly I have not been there myself. O yes, I have been there with others at death. I have been to many funerals. I have seen my own mother dying and dead.

Perhaps I should be aware of just how petty are most of my complaints, for I have life and have yet to walk through that great valley. 

And yet Lord, I cry out for Your presence, for Your comfort, for I fear much:

I fear my life will have no significance in the end.

I fear I will not be all I was meant to be.

I fear to do the things that will help me to become.

I fear the displeasure of the people under my care.

I fear I will mess up bad.

I fear I will be seen as evil rather than good, by the very ones I try so hard to touch with your care.

I fear I will fail as husband, father, pastor, man.

I fear so much.

Only Your presence can cast away the evil. Only Your presence can help me to walk in the valleys that are dark. Only Your presence can sustain me. Comfort me now O my Lord and Shepherd. Restore my soul!

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows. 

In the midst of it all O Lord, all of life, all of joy, all of sorrow, all of struggle, all of pastoral work, all of discouragement and sadness, all of hurt and burnout.

You, O Lord, prepare a table.

May your goodness and grace cause me to sit and eat at the table you have prepared.

O for the time at your table…let me not be lost to it. Let me not lose sight of it. Let me linger long at Your table. Let’s eat together.  A full set of courses. Let us eat and drink together in joy. May Your presence make each bite taste delicious, each sip be sweeter than the one before.

Let the meal be long.  Long and wonderful. And I shall lick my fingers in joy and delight. For it is the table You have prepared.

Yes Lord, You restore my soul!

Surely goodness and love shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

All praise to You my Lord, my Shepherd:

For You restore my soul.

When I come to the end and think that all is in ruins, all has lost rhyme and reason, I discover truly, Your Presence changes me, changes my mind, my heart, my life. You restore my soul.

For all of my days are in Your hands, embraced by your goodness and love. In You I have a future, forever.

Amen.

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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