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Daily Devotional • May 22

Emily Hylden
A Life in Lines
A Reading from Psalm 89:1-18

1    Your love, O LORD, for ever will I sing; *
    from age to age my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness.
2    For I am persuaded that your love is established for ever; *
    you have set your faithfulness firmly in the heavens.
3    "I have made a covenant with my chosen one; *
    I have sworn an oath to David my servant:

4    'I will establish your line for ever, *
    and preserve your throne for all generations.'"
5    The heavens bear witness to your wonders, O LORD, *
    and to your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones;
6    For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD? *
    who is like the LORD among the gods?
7    God is much to be feared in the council of the holy ones, *
    great and terrible to all those round about him.
8    Who is like you, LORD God of hosts? *
    O mighty LORD, your faithfulness is all around you.
9    You rule the raging of the sea *
    and still the surging of its waves.
10    You have crushed Rahab of the deep with a deadly wound; *
    you have scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
11    Yours are the heavens; the earth also is yours; *
    you laid the foundations of the world and all that is in it.
12    You have made the north and the south; *
    Tabor and Hermon rejoice in your Name.
13    You have a mighty arm; *
    strong is your hand and high is your right hand.
14    Righteousness and justice are the foundations of your throne; *
    love and truth go before your face.
15    Happy are the people who know the festal shout! *
    they walk, O LORD, in the light of your presence.
16    They rejoice daily in your Name; *
    they are jubilant in your righteousness.
17    For you are the glory of their strength, *
    and by your favor our might is exalted.

18    Truly, the LORD is our ruler; *
    The Holy One of Israel is our King.

What would it look like to narrate your whole life in a prayer? Today, the psalmist tells the history of Israel in prayer, capturing the joy and hope of God, as well as his disappointment and anger. It’s not always an objective account; actions are attributed to God by the psalmist which may or may not be fair — but how is that any different than how we may pass responsibility to others (or erringly put responsibilities on ourselves!) in our own lives? Our affections and biases bleed all over our relationships and perceptions, even those of God. 

I’ll admit, my focus is suffering right now — life and its complexities keep coming and don’t stop. Grief from death and loss scrambles our brains, and when it hits, it’s hard to string more than a few thoughts together. How could we write a whole life down? But I wonder what might be gained by plotting out the trajectory of our whole stories, all its phases and twists, in a sort of ode to God. What might we find about the character of God reflected in the witness of our path put into words? 

What sorts of words might you stack up as describing yourself, or describing God, or describing your relationship, in such a prayer? Who else might people your account? How might we recognize the ways we are massaging the truth, for our own comfort, or for someone else’s?

The Rev. Emily R. Hylden resides with her priest husband and three sons in Lafayette, Louisiana. Find her podcasting at Emily Rose Meditations.

Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

The Diocese of Taita-Taveta – The Anglican Church of Kenya
The Diocese of Iowa
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