Here I Am: Praying with Psalm 40, Isaiah, and Martin Luther King

Portrait of KingThe text of a prayer I cobbled together some years ago, perhaps helpful for an observance of Monday’s holiday:

Psalm: (this recited version, or preferably a musical setting like this or this or this)

All:
Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

Reader or all:
I waited patiently for the LORD;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the desolate pit,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the LORD.
Happy are those who make the LORD their trust,
who do not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after false gods.
You have multiplied, O LORD my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you.
Were I to proclaim and tell of them,
they would be more than can be counted. (Ps 40:1-5)

All:
Here I am, Lord; here I am. I come to do your will.

Scripture:
A reading from the book of the Prophet Isaiah: (42:1-4)

Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his teaching.

The word of the Lord/thanks be to God

Song:
We shall overcome, we shall overcome,
we shall overcome some day.
O deep in my heart, I do believe
that we shall overcome some day.

Testimony:
From Martin Luther King:

In this state of exhaustion, when my courage had almost gone, I determined to take my problem to God. My head in my hands, I bowed over the kitchen table and prayed aloud. The words I spoke to God that midnight are still vivid in my memory.

“I am here taking a stand for what I believe is right. But now I am afraid. The people are looking to me for leadership; and if I stand before them without strength and courage, they, too, will falter. I am at the end of my powers, I have nothing left. I’ve come to the point where I can’t face it alone.”

At that moment, I experienced the presence of the Divine as I had never before experienced him. It seemed as though I could hear the quiet assurance of an inner voice saying:

“Stand up for righteousness. Stand up for truth. God will be at your side forever.”

Almost at once, my fears began to pass from me. My uncertainty disappeared. I was ready to face anything. The outer situation remained the same, but God had given me inner calm.

(shared silence, then any reflections)

Scripture:
A reading from the book of the Prophet Isaiah: (43:1-2)

But now thus says the LORD, the LORD who created you, O Jacob, the LORD who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

The word of the Lord/thanks be to God

Intercessions

Lord’s Prayer

Acclamation by the leader:
My brothers and sisters, let us hear the Good News and believe!

Song:
We shall overcome, we shall overcome,
we shall overcome some day.
O deep in my heart, I do believe
that we shall overcome some day.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Liturgy, spirituality and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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