This is the first Psalm I wrote out in my own words as a prayer back to God. In the middle of a night over the Christmas holiday I started to write out just the first three verses of Psalm 40. An hour later, the whole Psalm had spilt out. I found Micha Boyett’s reflection to be spot on: the Psalms are like having “someone to hold my hand while I approach God.” The rewriting of this Psalm reflects one such walk toward God for me.
I wait patiently for the LORD;
turn to me and hear my cry.
Lift me out of the pit of discouragement,
out of the confusion and unknowing;
set my feet on a rock from which I can see a way forward
and give me a firm place to stand.
Put a new, lighter song in my mouth,
a continual hymn of praise to my God.
May many see our lives and our business
and put their trust in the LORD.
as I make the LORD my trust,
to not turn my face or thoughts
to the lies of false gods
or any idols of security but You.
Many, O LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done for us.
The things you still have in works for us
the good, pleasing, and perfect things in your will
only you know;
were I to try and record them,
there would be too many to list,
such is the extent of your love.
In sacrifice and offerings you do not delight.
Open my ears to hear You.
Burnt and sin offerings you have not required.
Help me to say,
“Here am I.”
“I desire to do your will, O my God.”
“Put your law within my heart.”
Open my mouth to proclaim righteousness
in the presence of many,
that my lips may not be constrained.
May I not hide the story of your deliverance in my heart,
but instead speak of your faithfulness and salvation.
May I not conceal your acts of love and faithfulness from others.
As I turn the soil in my heart and long after you,
do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD;
May your love, truth, and faithfulness
always sustain and protect me.
For troubles and temptations surround me;
my sins are many,
and my heart fails me at every difficult point.
O LORD, please save me from this place of turmoil;
O LORD, come quickly to help me see a way forward.
May the attempts by the father of lies
be shown as shameful and disgraceful;
may the accuser who says to me, “Aha, I’ve got you now!”
be reminded that I am a daughter of the Almighty.
But may we who seek after you,
who seek your heart,
who seek your will,
rejoice, be glad, and find content in You;
May those who know that you are our only hope of salvation
continually say, “Great is the LORD!”
I am poor in Spirit, lacking in vision, and in need of hope.
LORD, turn your thoughts to me.
Do not pass me by.
You are my help.
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
You are my deliverer.
Out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.
O my Father God, do not delay any longer.
In the longest book of the Bible, the writers whisper that it’s ok to approach the throne of grace with lament, frustrations, praise, thanksgiving, and pleads swirling in your heart. Maybe this week you’d like to take the hand of a Psalter and write out a verse or two in your words as a prayer. In doing so, may you see the Psalms and our Father God with fresh eyes.