Sierra pounded on the window of my office. I could hear her crying and begging to come in. At the time, I worked at a Children’s Home that sheltered teenagers who had been through severe abuse. Sierra was one of our young adults.
As she entered, Sierra expressed concerns because she saw a man on campus that she did not know. Fear flooded her mind and body. As we talked, and I realized there was no real danger, she began to calm down and then she did something that I will never forget. She asked for my Bible and started reading Psalm 91 out loud. Her countenance began to change as she read verses 1 and 2:
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.
I’ve grown up in the church and only in my adult life did I begin understanding the power of Scripture. In times of fear, worry, and uncertainty, I have found the peace and tranquility that Sierra did. The Psalms, in particular, written as spoken prayers and hymns for God’s people, remind me that I can turn to the Almighty and remember His promises to me.
I love the words of Corrie Ten Boom who was imprisoned with her family for hiding Jews during the Holocaust. She says, “The wonderful thing about praying is that you leave a world of not being able to do something, and enter God’s realm where everything is possible. He specializes in the impossible. Nothing is too great for His almighty power. Nothing is too small for His love.”
When I think of Psalm 91 as a spoken prayer, I remember a special group of women that I gathered with on Saturday mornings during a particularly difficult time. We would pray out loud for each other, for ourselves and for our church and country. The Psalms are very honest. I would say some of our prayers mimicked those you find David praying in anguish. But the most powerful moments were when our eyes turned to who God was and how He could be trusted. As I heard someone else praising Him for an answered prayer or when I heard them affirming their belief in His wisdom, power, love, etc., I could feel courage rising in me too.
I enjoy reading the Psalms out loud using my name or “I” in places where it makes sense. This is my rendering from Psalm 91:4 of the Passion Translation:
God’s massive arms are wrapped around me, protecting me.
I can run under his covering of majesty and hide.
His arms of faithfulness are a shield keeping me from harm.
And my adaptation of verses 14 through 16 from the Message:
God says to me, “If you’ll hold on to me for dear life, I’ll get you out of any trouble.”
He will give me the best of care if I’ll get to know Him and trust Him.
As you read Psalm 91 today, I pray that you begin to feel God’s presence and peace. Let the words roll over you and begin to open your heart and mind to His love for you. He wants you to know Him and trust Him.