Jesus taught his disciples to pray. But there’s a very real sense in which the psalms taught Jesus to pray. In this series, we’re going to sit with Jesus at the feet of the Bible’s lament psalms to see what they can teach us about prayer.
Why the laments? One of my students once observed that reading the laments made her feel like the Holy Spirit had been reading her diary. Generations of the faithful have testified to these psalms’ peculiar ability to help us express our most private and sometimes painful thoughts. Yet, the laments also teach us that, even when our prayers are full of anger or anguish, they are still “praise in a minor key.”
Study #6: In God We Trust
Read: Psalm 56
In God I trust; I am not afraid. (v. 11, NRSV)
All this talk about “enemies” makes this psalm sound a little paranoid. But as someone once said, “You’re not paranoid if you really do have enemies!”
Although not all of the psalms are attributed to David, this one could well have been written by him. Goodness knows, David did have his share of enemies. If anyone had reason complain about enemies trampling him all day long (v. 1), David surely did. Yet, does that mean that this prayer is off limits to anyone who isn’t literally surrounded by stalkers?
Threats come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes danger comes disguised as cancer cells or false friends. Yet, sometimes we see the enemy and “it is us.” We are enslaved by addictions, seduced by temptations, or on our knees before the altar of some false god. But make no mistake; these enemies are no less dangerous than David’s. Whether our enemies are literal or metaphorical, they are a real and present danger.
When we find ourselves surrounded by enemies, it does no good to deny the danger. David didn’t. Instead, he faced up to the threat, taking comfort in God’s presence and power. Though there is good reason to be afraid, he isn’t—because he trusts in God (v. 11). As he said in another psalm: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me” (Ps. 23:4, KJV).
Prayer: Deliver my soul from death, and my feet from falling, that I may walk before you in the light of life.