O Peoples, Bless Our God

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There is so much suffering in the world. Indeed, there is so much suffering that we often get caught up in it, and its effects, and we can be tempted to lose our sense of hope. If we become habituated to only seeing the darkness of the world, we will lose sight of the beauty, the goodness and the greater truth that is still there, even when everything looks its bleakest. Prayer is a means through which we can enter into the presence of God and see, once again, that what is really true, good, and beautiful, is still with us, despite what the world looks life at any given moment.

The psalmist understood this when he wrote the following lines:

ʺO peoples, bless our God;
Let the voice of his praise resound,
Of the God who gave life to our souls
And kept our feet from stumbling.ʺ

If we keep our eyes on God, especially in the hard times, we will be able to, even in our suffering, lift our voices in praise of Him who gave life to our souls and who inspires them in every moment even now. He is the only One we can look to to keep us from stumbling, and falling into the darkness. It is in God that we find light and our happiness.

Come and hear, all who fear God;
I will tell what he did for my soul.
To him I cried aloud,
With exaltation ready on my tongue.ʺ

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When we pray, we are calling out to God and we know that he will answer us. He will answer our every prayer, in and through his own wisdom, not ours. Because we know that God’s intentions for us are always good, true and beautiful, we can pray all of our prayers with the sense of exaltation on our tongues. For his answers will always be for our benefit. In this knowledge, we have reason for our exaltation.

ʺHad I considered evil in my heart,
The Lord would not have listened.
But truly God has listened;
He has heeded the voice of my prayer.
Blest be God, who did not reject my prayer,
Nor withhold from me his merciful love.ʺ

This is the reason for our confidence. If our prayers are lifted up to God for some evil intent on our part, he who can do no evil, will not listen to our prayers. But, if our prayers are innocent, and their desires are for the good, he will not only listen, but he will answer our prayers out of his infinite love and concern for us as his children. A mother or a father will answer all the questions, concerns, hopes and dreams of her or his child, if those things are good for the child’s well-being. If the child’s requests, unknown to the child, are not good, or might have dilatorious effects on the child, that mother or father will not fulfill those requests, out of love for the child. If mothers and fathers will do this for their children, God will do infinitely more for his children. Sometimes the answers will be, ʺNo,ʺ and will challenge us, but it will always be for our good. God’s answers will always be rooted in his higher truth and, if we are humble enough to accept them, in the end, we will see the beauty of walking in his ways.

Let us pray to the Lord that we may not be overwhelmed by the darkness of the world’s sufferings, rather that we may always be drawn to see the bright light of his truth, goodness and beauty, even in the midst of the darkness.

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.