Lenten Offering: Week 5
Welcome to Week 5 of WINE’s Lenten Offering—our offering to the Lord of time and listening hearts.
Five weeks into our Lenten “cleanse,” Psalm 102 reminds us that the one who lifts us up from the ashes of sorrow, even when our distress is self-imposed by sin, is the very One who we have sinned against: the Lord God who rules over everything. Because he is our Judge, we might be tempted to be afraid—but He who created us in love also reaches out in pity to save us.
One of the reasons I love praying with the Psalms is that they are so good at turning my face upward to God when I’m fixated on myself and on my problems. Over the years, I’ve learned that “planting” the Psalms and other scripture in my heart has that effect even when I’m not physically reading my Bible. It’s as though the Lord carves the words on my heart, and then the Holy Spirit brings them to mind when I need them.
My intention, when I developed this simple journal for praying with the Penitential Psalms, was to help others do this as well. Maybe you’ve already felt one of the psalms making a home in your heart as you repeat it over and over again for several days in a week. The note to Take it with You at the end of every Tuesday’s reading is a reminder that if something in God’s word particularly moves you, taking it with you throughout your day—by writing it on a card or entering a note on your phone and returning to it regularly—will help plant it in your heart where it can grow and nourish you.
Another great way to take in Scripture and hang on to it is through song. Many psalms have been put to music and learning to sing them can help you pray the words later, when you need them and don’t have a Bible handy or don’t remember where to find the verse. Here’s a set of songs in a variety of styles, each one based on a Penitential Psalm. I learned the one from Psalm 51 by Keith Green when I was in college, and even today I find it pops into my mind, unbidden, when I need it.
Enjoy listening to some of these — and let me know if you have another favorite. I’d love to hear it.
- Psalm 6: Heal Me by The Psalms Project
- Psalm 32: Chant by John Michael Talbot OR Forgiven by Sons of Korah
- Psalm 38: Guitar solo by Michael Christiawan
- Psalm 51: Misereri, by Gregorio Allegri OR Create in Me a Clean Heart, by Keith Green
- Psalm 102: Chant by the Choir of Ely Cathedral
- Psalm 130: From the Depths of Woe by Indelible Grace
- Psalm 143: Revive Me by Jeremy Camp
Questions to Ponder:
As a community of women, sharing a similar journey this Lent, we invite you to share your experiences and insights with each other on the blog (below) after you complete your prayer with Psalm 102. Here are some questions, based on the journaling questions in Create in Me a Clean Heart.
- [READ] What struck you about Psalm 102? Did any words or phrases catch your eye? What did you notice about them?
- [REFLECT] What did Psalm 102 say to you? Where did your heart draw you? After pondering that passage—what does it mean to you?
- [RESPOND and REST] Were you able to move into a conversation with the Lord? The specific things that He says to our hearts, and our response, are often private. Would you like to share anything about the experience of hearing from Him, or entering into that conversation, or resting in his presence?
- Would you like to share a song for us that is based on one of the Penitential Psalms?
Written by Sarah Christmyer
Sarah Christmyer is a Catholic author, Bible teacher, and speaker with a special love for lectio divina and journaling as ways to draw close to Christ in Scripture. She is co-developer with Jeff Cavins of The Great Adventure Catholic Bible study program and author or co-author of many of the studies. Sarah is an adjunct faculty member at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, where she teaches Scripture to men in their Spiritual Year. Sarah also blogs at her website, www.ComeIntotheWord.com.