Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Our Common Prayerbook 25 – 1

posted by Scot McKnight

Offering.pngPrayer is soul-ish wandering. It wanders from who we are and what we have done and what life is like into the presence of God where it again wanders into who God is and what God is like and what God has done and what God can do and what God will do, and then back again to us and then back again to God. This is not done casually or flippantly, but from the heart and soul and mind and spirit.

I wonder if we think of prayer as “soul-ish wandering” enough. I wonder if we think our mental meanderings and ponderings and worries are aspects of prayer. They are prayer if they are all done in God’s presence, whether we are talking to God directly or not. 
Psalm 25 is another splendid example of soul-ish wandering. It is an almost complete alphabetical psalm where the first line begins with a new letter in the Hebrew alphabet, but there is no “q” and there are two “r”s. Hence, John Goldingay [Psalms, Vol. 1: Psalms 1-41 (Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms)
] calls it “The bases of prayer from A to Z.” His view meshes with mine about soul-ish wandering.
It wanders first into the presence of God or into consciousness of God. “To you, YHWH, I lift up my soul, my God. In you I have trusted — may I not be ashamed.” Here is the disposition of genuine prayer: nothing more,  and nothing less than, entering into God’s very presence in trust. Prayer, especially if it is soul-ish wandering, offers our very selves to God.

Psa. 25:0   Of David. 
1 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul. 
2 O my God, in you I trust;
do not let me be put to shame;
do not let my enemies exult over me. 
3 Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
  
Psa. 25:4   Make me to know your ways, O LORD;
teach me your paths. 
5 Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long.
  
Psa. 25:6   Be mindful of your mercy, O LORD, and of your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old. 
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for your goodness’ sake, O LORD!
  
Psa. 25:8   Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way. 
9 He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way. 
10 All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
  
Psa. 25:11   For your name’s sake, O LORD,
pardon my guilt, for it is great. 
12 Who are they that fear the LORD?
He will teach them the way that they should choose.
  
Psa. 25:13   They will abide in prosperity,
and their children shall possess the land. 
14 The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him,
and he makes his covenant known to them. 
15 My eyes are ever toward the LORD,
for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
  
Psa. 25:16   Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted. 
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart,
and bring me out of my distress. 
18 Consider my affliction and my trouble,
and forgive all my sins.
  
Psa. 25:19   Consider how many are my foes,
and with what violent hatred they hate me. 
20 O guard my life, and deliver me;
do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. 
21 May integrity and uprightness preserve me,
for I wait for you.
  
Psa. 25:22   Redeem Israel, O God,
out of all its troubles.


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Ann F-R

posted July 27, 2010 at 4:37 pm


Thank you for these thoughts on prayer and psalms, Scot. Today, your metaphor for prayer as soul-ish wandering resonates with our hearts & current situation – wondering where God is leading, seeking the Spirit’s guidance in the right paths, trusting God with the outcome even though it is still obscured, for now.



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Peter

posted July 28, 2010 at 6:26 am


Thank you. I have been enjoying this series and have really looked forward to Psalm 25 – take your time with it! My wife + I are finishing up a few days of a prayer retreat and “soul-ish wandering” nails it. Thanks again.



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