A couple of years ago, I felt trapped…stuck in some difficult circumstances that were not going to let up. In fact, I was pretty sure that things were going to get worse before they got better. There was no way out. My husband and I had to keep putting one foot in front of the other and pray for the needed patience and strength.
It was about this time, that someone encouraged me to memorize Psalm 139. I took it in small bites and memorized a couple of lines a day until I could recite it in it’s entirety. Then I took the psalm for walks…literally. I would get home from work, head out the door and recite the Psalm over and over. When there wasn’t anyone around me, I spoke it out loud. I think there were a couple times that I even yelled it. As crazy as that might sound, I learned something. How I spoke it changed how I heard it. Sometimes it was a quiet whisper my soul longed to believe; other times it was the loud affirmation of what was true about God and true of me.
The daily repetition of the Psalm began to work something new within me. David’s words became mine. My predicament remained the same, but I changed. My heart dropped anchor and held onto the fact that God was with me. He saw me; he knew me; he understood all the frustration, all the anger inside and he wasn’t going to abandon me. No matter what the future held, he would be with me. I was his idea to begin with and he had a plan for my life. The psalm even went so far as to say that I was “fearfully and wonderfully made.” With each recitation, healing crept into this heart that had found life to be a demanding grind.
I am just beginning to learn the power of praying the Psalms. They are meant to be consumed so that God can use them to do the soul work he longs to do. They be read, prayed, sung, yelled, breathed, whispered. Anywhere we go, a psalm can go. I can jot one down on an index card, tuck it in a back pocket, try to commit it to memory and pray it in spare moments. The Psalms have become the poetry of my heart crying out to the God who hears me and answers. With each recitation, the beauty and power of God seeps into my soul. If my memory fails, I pray that their sweetness will remain locked deep within.