Have you ever read something that feels so . . . exactly personal? As if someone with a better vocabulary had stripped the words right off the sinews of your soul? I came across possibly my favorite passage of all time again this morning.
I know most of you have read this prayer, but I'm posting it here in an abbreviated and personalized form today. Every time I read it, I think, Yes! Yes, that's exactly it. It perfectly reflects the tension we all feel between trusting God and knowing He hears us; yet still falling short of living thoroughly as if we do.
Notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched woman that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.
I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me. And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.
My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions and preserved me. He hath filled me with his love. He hath heard my cry by day, and given me knowledge by visions in the night.
By day have I waxed bold in mighty prayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high; and angels came down and ministered unto me.
O then, if the Lord hath visited me in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?
And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?
Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.
Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.
O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?
May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my heart is broken and my spirit is contrite! O Lord, wilt thou not shut the gates of thy righteousness before me, that I may walk in the path of the low valley, that I may be strict in the plain road! O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! Wilt thou make my path straight before me!
O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. Yea, I know that God will give liverally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. My voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God.
The full version can be found here.