iCLT News – Psalms 20
by Caleb Schrock-Hurst
Church Relations and Racial Justice Leader
It was a busy month for me, and I was particularly blessed to celebrate my marriage with friends from far and near! Less important, but still significant, was a celebration of my graduation from seminary (I finished my coursework in the fall but was glad to participate in some celebrations with my class this past weekend).
At Seminary baccalaureate – the worship service accompanying graduation – my Old Testament professor Dr. Andrea Saner encouraged us, as church leaders and pastors and people of faith, to re-center prayer of the Psalms in our deveotional lives. In particular, she pointed out that we need to be reminded how to pray – how to ask things of God, how to celebrate God’s goodness, and how to lament. There is also humility in praying prayers that people of faith have prayed for millenia – as Paul says, we have a great cloud of witnesses we would do well to remember.
Jesus, of course, also taught his followers how to pray. In particular, he taught us to pray corporately. Jesus never once prays in the singular – with I or me – in what has become known as the Lord’s Prayer. Instead, he teaches us to pray in the plural – to ask for our daily bread, to ask for God to deliver us from temptation.
Braiding these two ideas together – learning to pray via the Psalms from and Jesus’ modeling corporate prayer – permit me to share a slightly-paraphrased version of Psalm 20, from the NRSV. Consider adding it to your prayer life this week, knowing that God remains our refuge and strength.
The Lord answer us in the day of trouble!
The name of the God of Jacob protect us!
May he send us help from the sanctuary
and give us support from Zion.
May he remember all our offerings
and regard with favor our burnt sacrifices.
May he grant us our heart’s desire
and fulfill all our plans.
May we shout for joy over our victory
and in the name of our God set up our banners.
May the Lord fulfill all our petitions.
Now I know that the Lord will help his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven
with mighty victories by his right hand.
Some take pride in chariots and some in horses,
but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God.
They will collapse and fall,
but we shall rise and stand upright.
Give victory to our king Jesus, O Lord;
answer us when we call.