Paraphrased by Nan C. Merrill
Many of the psalms were prayers written for worship in their time: psalms of lament and penitence, joy and thanksgiving. They are deeply felt, emotional prayers. There’s a psalter in the back of our hymnals putting them to music, so it seemed fitting to use a psalm today in our worship. Another form of prayer is called lectio divina. It’s a meditation on scripture, reading it over several times slowly and listening for different ways that it relates to our lives.
1. Sit quietly in a comfortable position and take a few moments to slow down. If you are comfortable doing so, close your eyes and concentrate on your breath. Listen quietly as the scripture is being read, or follow it in your bulletins.
2. Continue to close your eyes and listen as the scripture is read a second time. As it is read, listen for the instruction that you hear in the text. This may come from a word, phrase, or image; it may come from the sense of the whole passage. (read passage)
3. As you listen to the third reading, listen for something for which you would like to give thanks. Allow the sense of thanksgiving to fill your presence. Notice how it affects you as you hear the text. (allow 30 or 45 seconds of silence after the reading)
4. As you listen to the fourth reading allow yourself to confess your own sinfulness. Be aware of how you have “missed the mark” in your own life, actions that have separated you from God. (allow a few moments of silence after the reading)
6. As you hear this last reading, contemplate the way God is present to you in the word, phrase, image, or feeling that stands out for you. Rest in the feeling and let it lead you to resting in God. ( few moments of silence after reading)
You may open your eyes and come back to the sanctuary.
To You, O Love, I lift up my soul;
O Heart within my heart,
in You I place my trust.
Let me not feel unworthy;
let not fear rule over me.
Yes! let all who open their hearts
savor You and bless the earth!
Compel me to know your ways, O Love;
instruct me upon your paths.
Lead me in your truth,
and teach me,
for through You will I know
I shall reflect your light
both day and night.
I know of your mercy, Compassionate One,
and of your steadfast love.
You have been with me
from the beginning.
Forgive the many times I have
walked away from You
choosing to walk alone.
With your steadfast love,
Companion me along your way.
You are gracious and just,
O Spirit of Truth,
happy to guide those who
miss their way;
You enjoy teaching all who are open,
all who choose to live in truth.
Your paths are loving and sure,
O Holy One,
for those who give witness to You
through their lives.