You have delivered me from the attacks of the people;
you have made me the head of nations.
People I did not know now serve me, foreigners cower before me;
as soon as they hear of me, they obey me.
They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strongholds.
Psalm 18:43-45, NIV
Here we are, still praying our way through Psalm 18.
Aren’t you glad? It means there is so much more to go, so many days ahead of us in which to pray for those we love, to lift to the Throne of Grace those who suffer emotionally, who are bowed down and oppressed, as the Scripture says.
I know some. Do you? One is an autistic child who could not change her behavior or the course of her life if it were laid open before her in clearest terms.
Other are bent and broken and know it and have been trying to scrabble to the top for air; still others seem to have no idea the pain they cause themselves and others.
I suspect you could fit an acquaintance or two into each slot, the helpless, the defeated, the clueless. I rather think I have fit into each pigeon hole at one time or another, myself.
Lord God! Almighty God! A New Year stretches before us. It is neither special in newness to You, for You never leave us or forsake us, nor are You dismissive when we face the turning of each year; You are ever and always the help we need when each new day and new year dawns.
Deliver us, Lord God, us, and those for whom we pray from the attacks we face in the year ahead. More often than not, our own flesh will attack our spirits with lies, lies, lies about what we deserve, what we can and cannot do, how we feel, and the things that matter little, as opposed to the things that matter most. Help those we love and care about to measure the things that matter most and give to us and to them to face fears and jealousies and haughty inclinations and selfishness and unbelief … for them and for us, let these monsters lose heart and come trembling out of their strongholds, knowing their time has come.
They are brutes we have not known, terrorizing and humiliating us, but now they will serve us; they serve to make us know we are nothing and can do no good thing apart from You. They advise us that You are our great need, and in You we have purpose, peace, and grace in abundance. In You we esteem others and rise ourselves to the stature of Christ. They serve us well, those foreigners in our hearts, but the time of their ascendancy has ended, for us and for those they have brutalized. Remember, O Lord, this one ____________ and that one _____________, those who cannot help themselves, until they can. We are not leaders of nations, but of the kingdom of our souls, we are, indeed! In the name of Your Son Jesus, we and our dear and desperate friends are meant to rule our own hearts in truth and grace. Our tormentors and theirs are supposed to come trembling into the light – thank You that they shall, Father! Amen.
Crown of St. Wenceslas, replica, by permission, Wikipedia