Becoming Your Own Psalmist

A very long time ago, lived a great man. He was not a calm and cool type who kept his emotions tucked away, and always made rational decisions. No, in fact, he made several horrible mistakes in his life. So his greatness was not based on perfect performance. Instead, it was based on honesty. You see he always shared his thoughts and feelings with God. This enabled him to return again and again to God’s loving embrace and correction. Also, he opened his heart to others in his poetry. You might have guessed by now that this man was King David.

The psalms are actually King David’s journal. And David does not hold back. For example, if you read Psalm 22 you will see how David expresses his sense of utter abandonment by God. It is a psalm of agony, a prophecy of Yeshua’s suffering on the cross and an amazingly honest account of a believer’s wrestling with fear and bewilderment in the middle of a storm. This psalm is a mixture of pain and remembering. It is real life, which at times is dizzying in its ferociousness. It describes a sense of desolation that is usually part of the journey for any serious follower. And it shows us we are free to express our utter bewilderment to the Lord.

This psalm is also an inner dialogue as David reminds himself that the Lord has always been with him even from birth. He tells himself the truth that God “is not far off” (19). He affirms that God “has not hidden his face…but listened to his cry for help” (24). He proclaims that “All the families of all the nations will bow down before Him, for dominion belongs to the Lord…” (28).

Journaling will give you the opportunity to think out loud, to express what you cannot admit to anyone else. Taking the time to really open your heart will be a process of self-discovery, and create a sanctuary where you can hear God’s voice as you wait for His response. He is that friend that sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). Discover that friendship afresh by communicating through writing. It is a gateway to gratitude as you recall His faithfulness. It is a stepping stone to creative expression.

Another approach is to write letters to God. His mailbox is full of scores of notes I’ve written to Him expressing joy, fear, confessions, hopes, dreams, prayers, and questions, and praise. Journaling your prayers is an especially a good thing to do when thoughts are buzzing around. Try to dialogue your questions with God. Research tells us that just telling our story changes it.  All that confusion now has a beginning, middle and end.

Use the David’s psalms as a jumping off point. Rewrite them in your own words. The Lord is your shepherd. You shall not want. Create your own psalms of praise, confession and lament, but end with an affirmation of faith. I will conclude with an excerpt from C. Christian Dederer’s ‘Coffee Psalm”.

A Coffee Psalm

O God,

You are like coffee!

You percolate . . . and the mere sound of you stirs me from sleep. I thirst
for you, O God, in the morning when I wake up. Your aroma permeates
my soul when I come into your presence. You pour yourself out and
shower me with blessings. You fill my cup with good things…

O taste and see that the Lord is
good! You restore my soul and fill my senses.
You help me get through the day when
my sleepiness tries to keep me
from doing your will. O taste and see that the Lord is good.
O God, you are like coffee to me!

This article originally appeared on Anchor of Hope, August 31, 2016, and reposted with permission.