Don’t Forget Us
The Lord will fulfill God’s purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do no forsake the work of your hands. – Psalm 138:8 (NRSV)
I grew up Baptist, so my idea of prayer was your own words you strung together with a particular purpose in mind – whether to ask for something, or to ask forgiveness for something, or to ask for something for someone else, or to thank God for any or all of the above. Six years in Episcopal school exposed me to repeated forms of prayer, including confessions and petitions and praise, all sounding like poetry. Bits and phrases still live in my head half a century later. They are words to pray when I don’t have my own words.
The psalms were written for that purpose, to put prayers into a form that a community or an individual might use, and they often end with a word of trust in God – that God hears, or God cares, or God will act. This closing verse of Psalm 138 is doing a lot of that work. It’s saying, “There must be a reason why I’m here,” and “God never stops loving,” and, just in case, “Please, don’t forget me.”
We need these good prayers, in our words or in the psalmist’s, for all the moments when we believe but also worry about what’s happening around us, or how we fit into what God wants for the world. This past year plus raised those concerns and questions for me daily.
Is your idea of prayer the words in a book, or the words that stream from your heart to your mouth, or something else?
When you need words and don’t have them, try these.
Holy God, we trust that you have a purpose for us, and you will never stop loving us. (Please, don’t forget us.) Amen.
Martha Spong is a UCC pastor, a clergy coach, and editor of The Words of Her Mouth: Psalms for the Struggle, new from The Pilgrim Press.