Christine Johnson contemplates the timelessness of the psalms and other prayers of the Church.
Just after 6:00 AM on Election Day, I stood in line outside our polling place with my Christian Prayer book in hand. I decided that I would pray Morning Prayer while I waited. I had enough time to finish before it was my turn to go inside and vote.
I was struck by the timeliness of the psalms that day. Liturgy of the Hours (or Divine Office) is the universal prayer of the Church, offered throughout the day around the world. From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord will be praised. The psalms are an ancient form of prayer, as well, and have the unique quality of being both the Word of God and a prayer to Him.
That morning, I found myself praying Psalm 85:
Revive us now, God, Our helper!
Put an end to Your grievance against us.
Will You be angry with us for ever,
Will Your anger never cease?
Will you not restore again our life
That Your people may rejoice in You?
Let us see, O Lord, Your mercy
And give us Your saving help.
Then I prayed from Isaiah:
The way of the just is smooth;
The path of the just You make level.
Yes, for Your way and Your judgements, O Lord,
We look to You;
Your name and Your title
And the desire of our souls.
And then Psalm 67:
O God, be gracious and bless us
And let Your face shed its light upon us.
So will Your ways be known upon earth
And all nations learn Your saving help.
Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
There are so many times when the Psalms I pray in the morning and evening echo my own heart’s longings. When I can’t find the words to pray because I’m filled with sorrows, the Psalms speak for me. They offer me hope -- the hope that only God can give -- when I feel none.
Last month, I mentioned that the Liturgy of the Hours was a good prayer resource to help us get through these months of pandemic and uncertainty. I want to encourage you to try to pick it up in some way. I’ve found that it’s often the steady rhythm of the psalms, the singing, the bowing for the Glory Be, and the silence as I contemplate the reading that offers a balm to my soul when I’m most distressed and anxious.
Copyright 2020 Christine Johnson
Image: Pixabay (2019)
About the Author
Christine Johnson has been married to Nathan since 1993 and is the mother of two homeschool graduates. She and Nathan live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia, where she tries to fit in as a transplanted Yank. She blogs at Domestic Vocation about her life as a wife, mother, and Lay Dominican.