The Psalms of Ascent—Psalm 120~Psalm 134
My prayers from Beth Moore’s study Stepping Up
At the end of each study of a psalm, Beth asked us to write our own 'modern day' version of that particular psalm. The best way to understand my psalm is to read first the 'real' psalm. Perhaps you will be inspired to write your own version, too.
Psalm 120 Winning over Lies—Woe is Me
Lord, when my heart is heavy and I feel overwhelmed I cry out to you and ask that you deliver me from the lies of the Enemy! Satan’s best weapon is lying. How I know this and yet I listen, I listen.
Lord, I am so thankful that you will win in the end. You will triumph over Satan’s lies. But I ask Lord that in the ‘now’ you help us, my family, listen to you and not these lies! Help us arm ourselves as with arrows and coal—with a battle plan.
‘Woe is me’ –yes, Lord, at times I’ve cried out this way because I live in France, and I feel I don’t fit. Or because of all the problems around me—Conflict and Criticism. Lots of times it seems like people just want conflict, want to complain, want to hurt. Give me the grace to respond as you would, Lord.
Psalm 121 The Lord protects me
Lord, every morning I wake and see the mountains from the window. May I never raise my eyes to them without thinking of you. You are my help, my protector, my guide. Praise you that you are the Sovereign Maker of Heaven and Earth. Praise you that you don’t allow me to slip, to fall away from you. If it depended on my own strength, I would surely fall.
I love to sleep. Thank you that you don’t sleep—you never have. You watched over Israel and you watch over me. So many times you have protected me—first from myself and my poor choices and also so often from Satan’s lies and then from others who would harm me. I especially have felt your presence and protection in this foreign land where negative thinking and criticism reign.
Nature has no power over you, Lord. You are so much bigger than the sun and the moon. Lord, at time I doubt you, I imagine the worst. Forgive me. I cling to your promises that you will protect me from all harm—you watch over my life and my soul. And Lord, these last verses are so beautiful. In all the physical, emotional and spiritual ‘comings’ and ‘goings’ of my life, you are there. You protect me. You are my Lord, my God. I love you.
Psalm 122 Be glad for Church
Lord, I am glad that I have the freedom to go to church and worship you without fear. Forgive me, dearest Lord, when I take this privilege for granted. Let me come to your house without grumbling or lethargy. Let my heart ‘sing and rejoice’ as I choose to praise you in this place where you’ve placed us.
Lord, I pray for our little church in Lyon, France—with all its strengths and weaknesses. I pray that as a church we will learn to love each other better. And I pray we will reach out to Lyon—Lyon with its worship of Mary, Lyon teeming with students, Lyon that brings so many cultures to our doorstep. Lord, may your peace fall upon Lyon and may we be part of the process as we reach out to so many, from our homeless friend to those in high places. Work your glory in this city, Lord. And don’t let me be too lazy or afraid to help. I love you, Lord.
Psalm 123 I lift my eyes
Oh, Lord, as my sweet dog Beau looks to me with such love and expectation, let me look to you. Let me desire only to be in your presence, following you around night and day as he does. He knows where his food and care come from and he trusts me. And he can’t get enough of being with me. Let me be like that, precious Lord! Please, please. Also Beau if not ashamed to plead until he gets what he wants. He’ll whine, he’ll lick the windows, he’ll be obnoxious in every way just to get the attention of his mistress. Let me approach you with such stubborn faith, trusting you to answer.
And Lord, let me trust in your mercy, knowing that you look to me with such love and patience and kindness, knowing that you will save me. You see all the times I feel beaten down in France. Subtle yet constant criticism, accusing stares, oppression. Thank you that I can count on your kindness and favor and that you are working for my good.
Psalm 124 The Lord is on my side
My precious Lord, Thank you that you are on my side! You love me and are for me. How often have I admitted that it was only your grace and power that kept me from self-destructing! Satan’s most powerful tools in my life have been the lies. I have felt constantly attacked; I have felt like I was going to drown. But you were always there on my side, rescuing me from evil, Satan and myself. You have also protected me from ‘breaking’ in this hard country where we often feel the oppression.
Praise you, Lord Holy Father. Praise You! Though I have gone through pains and desert, you have not allowed me to ripped apart. You have surrounded me with sound biblical teaching so that I could escape the enemy’s traps with a battle plan. You are indeed the One who helps me. I praise your holy name, my God, the Maker of heaven and earth. And I pray that you will help us communicate this message that you are on our side to these precious teen girls. I love you!
Psalm 125 The Lord surrounds me
Lord, How I want my trust in you to be unshakeable, firm like the Mont d’Or. Even in the midst of all of life’s traumas, let my trust be solid. Forgive me when I falter. Thank You, Lord that your presence is all around me always and forever. Help this truth seep into the deepest part of me.
You are so much bigger that evil. Forgive me when I fear that evil will win. You alone are good, holy God, and you do good for your people. So I pray today that you will do good to Paul and Andrew and Chris, that you will be very present in their thoughts, that they will run to you. And Lord, it seems you are putting a finger on my anxiety, so please help me learn what you want and choose not to worry I will try again to loosen my grip on controlling my life and the lives of those I love.
I love you, be in control today.
Psalm 126 Sow in tears, reap with joy
I can look back and remember the joy of you working in my life. This psalm was the theme of my month long trip with Bec and Springs in August 1980. We literally saw angels! You guided us and we had much joy I remember the thrill. You changed my life on that trip, although I didn’t have any idea that here 28 years later, I’d still be in France, sowing seeds for you.
But today Lord, there are tears and I ask you again to help me persevere. Some things are so hard, and we grow weary. It’s a new season in life and I confess I’m afraid. Beth says change of seasons come with ferocity. In my empty nest, Lord let me be willing to fight to move forward. This means laying down/breaking the stronghold of worry and comparison and it means being willing to let you do something new: in my marriage, in our ministry, with my writing. Lord, in your grace, you’ve allowed us to see a harvest: lives blessed, babes in Christ born and maturing, a church planted, another strengthened and words of fiction used to transform lives, and two sons who love you and want to serve you.
So Lord, take these tears today and let me sow the seed again. Help me be faithful and persevere, even when I’d rather lie down and sleep. Please help me refuse lies, Lord, write for your glory and know that these tears are watering seeds for growth in you.
I love you.
Psalm 127 Be fruitful and multiply
Lord, a gray day after a white Easter. Cold weather returns and the house is empty again. I miss my boys. Chris’ 3 day visit went all too quickly and we didn’t get a lot of time with him.
But Lord, how I rejoice in how you have built our house, our family. What did we know, as young missionaries with little kids and lots of spiritual warfare? We could only do our best and cry out to You to build our house for your glory.
And little by little, amidst challenges, mood swings, depression and chronic pain, oppression, critical school systems, fledgling churches, mistakes and misunderstandings and our sinful natures, you have still somehow redeemed us and built our house. Paul and I love each other deeply and long to be continually transformed. Andrew and Chris are maturing in you in such beautiful ways—not always easy, but beautiful and long-lasting. And you’ve given me young women to parent spiritually~to help along as they mature.
I do ask that you help me trust you with my 'arrows'~our precious sons, that they will keep maturing and being willing to defend us when necessary. Mainly Lord, keep building this house in the way you desire. I love you.
Psalm 128 Fear God and be blessed
O Lord, thank you for this happy psalm. Thank you for reminding me that fearing you and reverencing you and obeying you are blessings! Let me enjoy the blessing of knowing you. Thank You for these words from the Message:
“You worked hard and deserve all you’ve got coming. Enjoy the blessing. Revel in the goodness." It makes me want to dance and shout! I am in awe of Your ‘Yes’. Yes! You’ve given me gifts and allowed me to exercise them and see fruit. You know, Lord, that in times past, I’ve despaired of seeing fruit. But after 20 years it comes back, beautiful and abundant. Even in France.
Just this week we’ve had visiting and spending the night at our house so very many people from the past, lives that are touched, seeds sown, our lives enriched. Lord, may we continue to be fruitful and multiply. Oh, how I long for my writing to go out and reach many more for Your glory. What joy! To get to live a life that honors You and spreads Your love and bears fruit. Merci!
Psalm 129 They have not prevailed
Lord, ever since I can remember, I’ve been plagued with the attacks of the enemy. In many different ways, Satan and his emissaries have tried to destroy me—especially through lies and self-hate. But Lord, they haven’t beaten me. Even when I have thought I would die, smothered by lies and depression, You reached down and rescued me. You cut the ropes that bound me, Lord. You are righteous! You are holy!
My cry, Lord, is that You will stop the voices, stop them from persecuting me with lies. My persecutors are so often spiritual, not human. I feel the darkness, the heaviness and oppression. I beg You again today, O Lord, to have Your will and destroy the Father of lies and turn back his power so that I may live in Your freedom. Today, the oppressor whispers ‘failure, never good enough, too late.’ Lord, free me from these thoughts and let me look beyond it all. So often it is tied up in selfishness, in me. Help me and may I choose to trust You and bless You.
Psalm 130 Wait, hope and be redeemed
Precious Lord, how often have I cried to You out of the depths of my soul, begging You for hope? I have felt weighted down by real and false guilt, wanted to give up and run away. But I come back to this truth:
TRUST, WAIT, AND OBEY
Lord so much of our life is waiting. Help me to wait in Your peace and with the confidence that You will answer and redeem all that the enemy stole. I love the adjectives used in this psalm—with You is faithful love, kindness, redemption in abundance. On Saturday I talked a precious one about depression and his comment was that thanks to what I learned, he is dealing with it better and earlier. REDEEMED!
Lord, I delight to watch You redeem my past and make my books 'real' because of what I have lived. Oh praise you, Father of redemption!
Psalm 131 Not proud, not haughty, calm
Lord, the lesson today has me in tears—remembering my toddlers who are now young men. But also remembering how ferociously I’ve clung to this psalm for so many years.
Lord, please keep me humble, whatever You have to do. Don’t let me become proud of my accomplishments and turn from you. Don’t let me look down on others.
You know how easily I get overwhelmed by life, so I thank You that You never give me ‘things too great or difficult’. You simply ask me to held onto you, like that weaned toddler, calm (and probably exhausted from running on his own strength), trusting You, being at peace and feeling Your love for me. Hearing You sing me a lullaby of love. Lord, as I walk through this new season of hot flashes and empty nests, may I still wait on You, not rushing ahead, but waiting, trusting and calm. Calm like a toddler asleep on my shoulder. I love You, Lord.
Psalm 132: 1-10 God gives above and beyond in Jesus (Part I)
Lord, I guess I feel conviction. Yes, I used to beg for Your presence and seek You with my whole heart. Has that changed? I don’t know. Andrew shared the joy of obedience and fasting with me last night. Am I too lazy or comfortable to seek You with all my heart? I say I only want You, but what do my actions show? Am I still trying to control my life and my family’s so that I won’t be surprised by You?
Or are my thoughts just so taken with my life? On my face before You, I think I am sincere—I only want you—but perhaps I hold back because I know the sacrifice involved, the hardship, the pain—physical, spiritual and mental.
I don’t want to hold back. I want You.
Psalm 132:11-18 God gives above and beyond in Jesus (Part II)
Dear Lord, I can testify that You love to answer our prayers and that sometimes the answers aren’t evident at first. But how often have You done 'above and beyond’ all that I ask or expect? Paul, missions, writing, children. Above and beyond. And I have a feeling in my soul that some of my deepest prayers which seem to have been answered ‘No’ are in fact Your patient ‘not yet’ so that I will learn to wait expectantly and TRUST.
Thank You that this psalm prophesies our precious Savior—Jesus the Anointed One. Thank you that You gave us so much ‘above and beyond’ in Christ. Help me meditate on the wonder of WHO YOU ARE and the role You have given me as PRIEST and KING. Lord, let me delight and shout with joy at who You are and who I am in You. Please let me fulfill the role You have set out for me before all time. I love You.
Psalm 133 Dwell in harmony
Dear Lord, yes it is pleasant to get along even if we don’t agree on everything. I confess that in my own human nature, I would prefer to just stay with those I like. But in calling me to France, You have forced me to be with many people who are very different from me.
Thank You for stretching me, Lord and forcing me to get out of my comfort zone, teaching me to love others whether French, English, Polish, Scottish, Assyrian, black, white, American, Canadian, South African, Reunionaise, Irish, Spanish, Italian, Algerian, Central African, Chinese, Columbian and on and on and on.
I pray we will get along, in unity. I pray that in the leadership of the church, there will be unity and that it will run down like fine oil on all of us. Amen.
Psalm 134 Bless God and be blessed
My Blessing Upon Others:
May Andrew and Chris live in Christ’s freedom, letting Him have control of every area and may they learn to get back up quickly when they fall and repent and then practice thankfulness.