The Daily Office: Day 10- Groaning
Silence for 2-5 minutes:
If your mind wanders, silently pray a simple prayer again and again, such as, "I surrender to your love" or "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me" until the Holy Spirit gives you a sense of peace and focus.
Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my groaning. Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray. O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you. The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. You destroy those who speak lies; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you. Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me.
For there is no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue. Make them bear their guilt, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out, for they have rebelled against you.
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield.
I first became aware of Psalm 5 through the song, Give Ear to My Words Oh Lord. The tune is a sweet, easy-going sort of petition to the Lord, and I like it. Honestly, it kind of fits my personality. It came out in 1975 during the Jesus movement when I was a junior in high school, and I sang it often. However, I don't think the composer got it right. This Psalm is not a whimsical folk song that pacifies. It's more like a Stevie Ray Vaughan, gut-wrenching, blues appeal to God.
Here we see that David refuses to suffer in silence. He wants God to consider his groaning. David is like the widow in Jesus' parable of the unrighteous judge. He is going to bother God about his pain until God does something about it. David believes that groaning and sighing are effective ways to get God's attention.
Psalm 5 demonstrates once again that the Psalms are not tame, and they are often unpleasant. They are the place where we work out the messiness of our souls before God. That's what David is doing in this morning song.
The Psalms provide space and place with God to come to grips with the utter brokenness of ourselves and our world. We come to the beautiful, yet arresting truth that unless God shows up, we are sunk.
Paul tells us that wordless groaning is the most profound form of intercessory prayer.
In the same way the Spirit [comes to us and] helps us in our weakness. We do not know what prayer to offer or how to offer it as we should, but the Spirit Himself [knows our need and at the right time] intercedes on our behalf with sighs and groanings too deep for words.
Romans 8:27 AMP
I honestly don't know the protocol for praying during a pandemic. The scope of the suffering and death leaves me speechless. But the Spirit helps me groan. That I can do. That kind of prayer awakens God to act.
Ask the Lord to help you enter into intercessory prayer birthed by His Spirit that transcends speech. Perhaps, it is the type of prayer that we need today.
Lord, I often don't know what to say to you in my prayers; therefore, I stop praying. Help me to see that wordless prayer, where I can only groan, is a prayer birthed by your Spirit. Help me to know that you indeed will consider my groaning and turn my cries of pain into songs of joy.