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Sep 23

Teach me to Pray

Begin by taking some deep breaths. As you breath you can begin to clear your mind.

  • Breath in by saying or thinking “Teach me”
  • Breath out by saying or thinking “to pray”

-continue this breathing exercise until you feel you are ready to continue.

Psalm 25:16

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.
Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;
    let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

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.

Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love,
    for they have been from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
    according to your steadfast love remember me,
    for your goodness’ sake, O Lord!

Good and upright is the Lord;
    therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
    and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
    for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.

For your name’s sake, O Lord,
    pardon my guilt, for it is great.
Who are they that fear the Lord?
    He will teach them the way that they should choose.

They will abide in prosperity,
    and their children shall possess the land.
The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him,
    and he makes his covenant known to them.
My eyes are ever toward the Lord,
    for he will pluck my feet out of the net.

Turn to me and be gracious to me,
    for I am lonely and afflicted.
Relieve the troubles of my heart,
    and bring me out of my distress.
Consider my affliction and my trouble,
    and forgive all my sins.

Consider how many are my foes,
    and with what violent hatred they hate me.
O guard my life, and deliver me;
    do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness preserve me,
    for I wait for you.

Redeem Israel, O God,
    out of all its troubles.

Psalm 25

I have heard of the Psalms as being songs of praise. Some of them are songs of praise, but others like this one seem to be something different. Bonhoeffer talked about the Psalms as being a prayer book. I think this is a better description of the Psalms. I have been reading the Psalms to help me get a deeper understanding of prayer. Prayer is something I was taught as a child, and yet I feel I am always learning more about how to communicate with God.

Psalm 25 is a different prayer than I have ever heard prayed, and yet it is a prayer I have prayed. Even if my prayer was only in my heart. This seems to be a prayer given by a person who is struggling with life. The Psalmist asks God to turn to them because they are lonely and afflicted (Psalm 25:16). There are many in our world today that are lonely. We are isolating because of covid-19, and this has increased the loneliness of many. This Psalm is a prayer for today!

This might be a prayer for today, but I hesitate to remind God of anything. I feel that I don’t need to ask God to be mindful of mercy and love (Psalm 25:6), and yet this is what the Psalmist does. I can learn from the Psalmist that God is willing to listen even when I doubt who God is. This is comforting, but also very challenging. And yet, it reminds me that even when I am suffering from loneliness God is there with me in the midst of my loneliness to comfort and protect me.

  • Are you in a time of loneliness? Imagine God setting beside you.
  • Take the time to tell God exactly how you feel right now.
  • Write out a prayer that includes all of your doubts and fears.

-please take a moment to do one of these activities.-

Take some deep breaths.

  • Breath in: “Teach me”
  • Breath out: “to pray”

God of mercy, thank you for being gracious to me even when I fail. Thank you for being with me even when I feel alone. Thank you for accepting me when I do not feel acceptable. Thank you God for all of your great gifts given to me. Amen.