Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray with Me”.
Psalm 54 follows a familiar trajectory. The poet has been attacked by his own enemies and God’s. So he asks God to remember his covenant, to deliver and protect Israel, to implement justice, and to crush the enemy. The poet combines his request with a strong affirmation that God hears him, and that God sees his pain and will deliver him.
Is your response to this psalm like mine? I ask, “Haven’t we heard this psalm before? Hasn’t the poet prayed this prayer of desperation and deliverance many times? Why pray it again? Perhaps the poet’s life, like mine, is a recurring cycle of despair and hope, fear and courage, doubt and faith.
In this part of the psalms, the poet repeatedly feels the weight of frustration and evil and opposition. Like living through a Canadian winter. The weather is cold, the days short and cloudy-dark, the nights long and frigid. Though I sometimes see a beautiful winter sunset or sun glistening on hoarfrost and snow, the dark and cold still provoke lethargy and dreariness. But I choose to live in hope. Each new day of winter is one day closer to robins and daffodils. The gray and featureless skies of February are a forecast of the sunny skies and white clouds in June.
So we continue praying through the psalms, knowing that these dark days of Psalm 54 are but days on the journey to the psalms of praise that lie ahead.
Today, in the spirit of Psalm 54, let’s begin praying for deliverance from the seven deadly sins, which are our enemies and God’s.
Our father, we know the sins that so easily entangle us (Heb. 12:1). They are not just behaviors we exhibit but the motion of our hearts; they are attitudes of our life; they are deeply held perspectives we do not question. Free us from our sins.
We pray against lust. Save us from views of sexuality that disguise themselves as personal freedom–freedom to define own sexuality, freedom to be unfaithful to relationships we have vowed, freedom to create and view all manner of pornography, freedom to define sexuality as an amoral human activity that no one has a right to judge. Jesus, what we call freedom you call the slavery of lust. Deliver us from this web of sin.
We pray against the sin of gluttony. Two-thirds of adults in Canada and the U.S. are overweight or obese. Because of our emotional attachments to food, we are unable to eat in moderation. We love our junk food, the pantry is our closet of worship, the fridge our favorite solution to loneliness and depression. Our deepest comfort is that cup of coffee or that bite of chocolate. Lord, help us grow up, help us exchange our obsession with food for what the psalmists had–a rich emotional life with you.
We pray against the sin of greed. We are lovers of money and hoarders of things. When we try to declutter, we fail because of our emotional attachment to stuff. O Jesus, help us lose our dependence on money and things, to grow in our love for you.
We pray against the sin of sloth or laziness. How often we prefer our quiet comforts in front of TV or computer to the challenge of working creatively, helping a neighbour, or spending more time with family. How much of our life is wasted when it could be invested. O Jesus, deliver us from our laziness and from justifying our inaction. Help us exert ourselves in your service and the service of others.
Bring us to a place where we can say with the psalmist,
You delivered me from all my troubles,
My eyes look in triumph on my foes (Ps 54:7).
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.