Learning to pray

File:Pan asturiano.JPG

Thoughts on Psalm 67

May God be gracious to us and bless us
…..and make his face to shine upon us,
2 that your way may be known upon earth,
….. your saving power among all nations.
3 Let the peoples praise you, O God;
….. let all the peoples praise you.
4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
…..for you judge the peoples with equity
…..and guide the nations upon earth.
5 Let the peoples praise you, O God;
…..let all the peoples praise you.
6 The earth has yielded its increase;
…..God, our God, has blessed us.
7 May God continue to bless us;
…..let all the ends of the earth revere him.

The poet doesn’t ask God to “bless me,” he asks God to “bless us.” We should let that truth linger for a while on our tongue. There is importance in what is yet to come but, first, the prayer is for the whole people. Indeed it is for the whole world.

“Bless us,” rather than me. Though everything within me wants God’s blessing on me, the prayer is for the world. I want safety for my children. I want their lives to be happy, their marriages strong. I want their work to be meaningful. I want them to have good homes and good health and happy children. I want them to have a rich spiritual life. I want them to be good people.

I want God’s care and protection for my Mom and my Dad. I want an easing of their loneliness and grief. I want health and safety. I want problems to be few.

And I want such things for myself, too. And so I pray, remembering my daughter, my parents, my family, myself.

Sometimes at the dinner table I remember the rest of the world. But I can see how many times in these few paragraphs I have used the words ‘I’, ‘me’ or ‘my’.

The poet prays for ‘us’. And it is the poet’s prayer that dwells now within the holy book, not mine. It is the poet’s prayer that brings to us God’s voice. It’s is the poet’s prayer for the world that lives forever in the scriptures.

And so I pray once more, and yet again for myself: “May I learn to pray as the poet prays…”

Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3APan_asturiano.JPG By Tamorlan (Photo taken by Tamorlan) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

About dkbonde

Pastor, Los Altos Lutheran Church
This entry was posted in Prayer, Psalms, Reflections on the Scriptures and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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