A Sinner’s Psalm

The Psalms are a fascinating compilation of Hebrew poetry. The rhythmic and emphatic language soars in joy-filled air and plunges into sloughs of affliction and misery. While Hebrew poetry is not marked by sounds of rhyme, it does have many distinguishing features. Parallelism (using different phrases to say similar things or contrasting things), structure (moving from line to line in a pattern), and posture (distinctly celebrating, lamenting, or requesting something) are some of the features of Hebrew poetry.

Once you understand the movement and methods of Hebrew poetry, it can be a stimulating exercise to formulate your own heartfelt prayer with similar features. The Psalms are uniquely God’s authoritative Word (just as all of holy Scripture), but the Psalms are given as exemplary prayers of praise, thanksgiving, confession, and supplication. Therefore, it seems warranted that the Christian disciple should follow these examples.

Here is a psalm-like prayer I wrote some time ago:

Oh God, my Redeemer and Comforter,

My fear and insecurity confuse my awareness of Your presence.

Here I am, alone and anxious in the confines of my mind.

I feel around in the dark, but my hands do not touch You.

Where is Your kind countenance in the fog of my despair?

Am I not helpless when my thoughts possess me so?

Oh God, have You forgotten me? Have I become too much a burden to You?

I am tossed to and fro by waves of my own miserable invention.

These panic inducing torrents are the concoction of my own sinful suspicions.

I despondently seek safety among the wind and waves.

What an abandoned wretch am I!

 

I know the place of hope and light, yet I seek it not.

I hear the chant of Sirens, and long for their embrace.

I prize esteem from others, and cannot bare the loss of it.

When some prestigious adage is presented, I want it too.

Is there anyone else who cannot resist these?

Am I the only one who loves You and loves sin as much?

I scarcely meet a soul who admits such a rivalry within.

My own soul looks for refuge where it cannot be found.

What a tormented degenerate am I!

 

Who will deliver me from this ocean of bondage?

How can I be free from my stormy sea of self-inflicted anguish?

Will You wait forever and only listen to my helpless sobs?

May it never be! I know these thoughts to be foolish!

Oh, my soul, God is my Rock and my Redeemer!

The Lord is the saving God and the refuge of the weary!

In Him I will find all the security and affirmation I was created to know!

Oh God, my Redeemer and Comforter,

You are near indeed, and my soul rejoices at Your warm gaze.

Behold love and grace, joy and peace; in You only are they found.

What a beloved child am I!

 

I know I am loved and accepted for Another’s sake!

I am upheld and raised to heights unknown to worldly men.

God is my safety; He is my ever-present help in time of need.

The Lord has kept all His promises and none will ever fail.

Oh, my soul!  Bless the Lord of your salvation!

Do not think of the surges about you, but love the Rock of Ages!

So many swells are only His beckoning call to find your mooring in Him.

Behold, God is; He is good; and He loves me!

What a gracious and merciful Father have I!

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