Psalm 61.8
Then I will ever sing in praise of your name
and fulfill my vows day after day.

Reflection: Praise in the Midst of Trouble :: A Guided Prayer
By John Tillman

Scripture resounds with trouble.

From scripture’s earliest writings, in which Job’s friend, Eliphaz observed that “man is born to trouble as sparks fly upward,” to the end, in which John hears of those “who have come out of the great tribulation,” trouble and strife are never but a page turn away.

Jesus himself directly told us that “in this world you will have trouble,” and then his disciples went out and proved it, many of them by serving the gospel unto death.

But another common note ringing from scripture is praise—most particularly praise from those in the midst of, and not yet rescued from trouble.

Today we join in a guided prayer of praise in the midst of our troubles using parts of our readings from today.

Guided Prayer
In the midst of our trouble, we cry to you, Lord.

God, you have been angry!
You have shaken the land and torn it open;
mend its fractures, for it is quaking.
You have shown your people desperate times;
you have given us wine that makes us stagger. — Psalm 60.1-3

Our land, our people, our churches, our politics are fractured, God.
We stagger, shaken, fearful, and unsteady.
There is no firm ground.

Who will bring me to the fortified city?
Is it not you, God, you who have now rejected us
and no longer go out with our armies? — Psalm 60.9-10

It is you, oh God, who must lead us.
Not politicians.
Not so-called “great men”
Not our armies of soldiers, armies of yes-men, or armies of Twitter followers.
All are useless to you, oh God.
Lead us to help, to serve, to save our cities!

Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I. — Psalm 61.1-2

Hear our scattered cries,
Across the world,
Across denominations,
Across political ideologies…

Lead us to build on the only rock, the sure foundation of Jesus Christ.
Lift us.
Elevate our efforts.
Grow our seed of faith.

I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it on a high and lofty mountain.
Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches.
I the Lord bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. — Ezekiel 17.22-24

Plant us, Lord. Cause us to grow to shelter many.
In the midst of our trouble, raise us up to shelter the troubled around us.

Prayer: A Reading
Jesus taught us, saying: Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened by debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will come upon you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come down on all those living on the face of the earth. Stay awake, praying at all time sof the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to hold your ground before the Son of man. — Luke 21.34-36

– Prayer from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Prayers from The Divine Hours available online and in print.

Today’s Readings
Ezekiel 17 (Listen – 4:26)
Psalm 60-61 (Listen – 2:27)

This Weekend’s Readings
Ezekiel 18 (Listen – 5:26) Psalm 62-63 (Listen – 2:44)
Ezekiel 19 (Listen – 2:12) Psalm 64-65 (Listen – 2:39)

Additional Reading
Read More about Prevailing Prayer in Times of National Trouble
Any mercy is sweet, when obtained by prayer; much more, such as are of advantage to others as well as yourselves.

Read More about When Help Isn’t Help :: Readers’ Choice
“Considering it all joy” does not mean one rejoices in the cruelty, suffering, shame, injustice, or destruction. It does not mean there will be no tears or sense of loss. Rather, amidst these constraining circumstances, one can embrace a sense of confidence and peace.

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