Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Psalm 73. A prayer.

Now that I am praying faithfully three times a day, the words of the prayer service, said over and over again, get a bit stale.  One way I've tried to inject something new in my prayers each day is to go through the Book of Psalms, reciting one (or in the case of longer ones, portions of one) each day.

I've been trying to mine the psalms for words that speak to my current state of mind.  Recently the  words of Psalm 73, which I've read at least ten times before, jumped out at me as if I'd never seen them before.  The Psalm (using a combination of the Metsudah and Robert Alter's translations) concludes (verses 21-28):

For my heart was embittered and my conscience stabbed with pain.
And I was ignorant and knew nothing, as cattle I was with You.
Yet I am continually with You, You held my right hand.
You guided me with your counsel, and toward glory You took me.
Whom have I in heaven but you, and besides You I desire nothing on earth.
Though my flesh and my heart yearn, God is my heart's rock and my portion forever.
For behold, those far from You perish, You cut down all those go astray from You.
But as for me, God's nearness is good to me.
I make the Master the Lord my shelter, to recount all your works.

A prayer that somehow, through the pain, I will come closer to, and, even for a moment, feel that I'm with, my Maker.  It hasn't happened so far.

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