Psalms – being honest with God

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This is one of a series of short reflections that can be used by individuals or small groups. It may be worth considering keeping a journal to make notes as you use each reflection.

In this session we turn to the Book of Psalms, a collection of sacred songs, poems and prayers which originated in Israel’s worship and her experience of God. They are traditionally associated with King David but reflect centuries of individual and corporate responses to God. Human emotions of anger, despair, sadness, guilt, doubt, joy, praise and adoration are expressed.

The Psalms would have been central to the pattern of prayer that Jesus used. Today we use the Psalms in daily worship as a way into prayer.

Settling in.
Spend a few moments to prepare to be open to receive from God during this reflection.
You may consider putting your phone on silent for a while. Light a candle. Get comfortable.

Gathering worship:

Read Psalm 23 out loud.
Don’t rush the words. It is helpful to pause at the ♦ to give you an opportunity to reflect on the words. The Psalm ends with a prayer.

1 The Lord is my shepherd; ♦
therefore can I lack nothing.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures ♦ and leads me beside still waters.

3 He shall refresh my soul ♦
and guide me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4 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.

5 You spread a table before me
in the presence of those who trouble me; ♦ you have anointed my head with oil
and my cup shall be full.

6 Surely goodness and loving mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, ♦
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

O God, our sovereign and shepherd,
who brought again your Son Jesus Christ
from the valley of death, comfort us with your protecting presence and your angels of goodness and love, that we also may come home and dwell with him in your house for ever. Amen

Take some time to reflect on ways God brings you refreshment and renewal. (see verse 2 and 3 of the Psalm)

As you prepare to look deeper at some of the Psalms – pray these words:

May I prepare myself for the Word of God, as it comes to me in the reading of Holy Scripture.
My heart and mind are open.

Reading and reflection:
Read Psalm 22:1-11.

Reflect on what makes you angry?

What do you do with that anger?

How do you feel about being angry with God? Is it ever wrong to be angry with God?

This Psalm is quoted by Jesus
Read Mark 15:33-34

What is Jesus angry about?

What does this tell us about the sort of person that Jesus was?

The Psalms – a prayer book for life

Read through each of the following passages from the Psalms.
Bible Gateway is a helpful way to find bible passages in different translations.
Psalm 31:1-5
Psalm 40:1-5
Psalm 42:1-5
Psalm 46:1-7
Psalm 51:1-12

What part of these Psalms spoke to you the most?

Closing Worship
(From Common Worship: Daily Prayer)
Pray these words out loud

O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.
Make me to know your ways, O Lord,
and teach me your paths.
(from Psalm 25.3)

Listen to this version of Psalm 23
• Response: have a moment of silence,
• Pray for others and for yourself. Here are some suggestions:
¶ The social services
¶ All who work in the criminal justice system
¶ Victims and perpetrators of crime
¶ The work of aid agencies throughout the world
¶ Those living in poverty or under oppression

At the end of prayer time use say the Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.

The Conclusion
May God grant to the world justice, truth and peace.
Amen.

This is part of a series originally compiled by Bob Callaghan and Alison Spreadbridge for St Edmund’s Church, Dartford.

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Still figuring out what being a disciple might mean. Anglican priest and cyclist. One of the founders and editors of New Roots - partly as a way of hanging on in there!

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