New Year Prayer: Your face, Lord, do I seek.

The Lord is my light and my salvation;

    whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life;

    of whom shall I be afraid?

When evildoers assail me

    to devour my flesh—

my adversaries and foes—

    they shall stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me,

    my heart shall not fear;

though war rise up against me,

    yet I will be confident.

One thing I asked of the Lord,

    that will I seek after:

to live in the house of the Lord

    all the days of my life,

to behold the beauty of the Lord,

    and to inquire in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter

    in the day of trouble;

he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;

    he will set me high on a rock.

Now my head is lifted up

    above my enemies all around me,

and I will offer in his tent

    sacrifices with shouts of joy;

I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,

    be gracious to me and answer me!

“Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!”

    Your face, Lord, do I seek.

In case you had not noticed, I have been stuck, so to speak, on Psalm 27 throughout Advent and Christmas. The psalmist helped me wonder about fear, favor and forever, through the waiting of Advent and bolstered my Christmas faith. As I started turning my attention toward the year ahead, I revisited the familiar words. 

In the middle of the verses, I stopped to let myself see and feel the psalmist gathering up the confidence to plead with the Lord:

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,

    be gracious to me and answer me!

And then I paused a little longer to hear the intention of the psalmist’s heart in verse 8:

“Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!”

    Your face, Lord, do I seek.

I have decided that 2020 was a riddle that no one has discovered the answer to yet. As 2021 begins, I place no hope in individual politicians, pastors, pharmaceutical companies or medical professionals to solve it. The reality is it will take the utmost reliance on the Lord and a collaborative mindset to move us toward a confident resolution. 

The gift of Psalm 27 is its boost to one’s confidence.  Our waiting is not over. But we offer others hope whenever we gather up the courage to cry out to the Lord with boldness.  To that end, may our prayer and the intention of our hearts be that of seeking the Lord’s face, regardless of how the days of the new year unfold.

Do not hide your face from me.

Do not turn your servant away in anger,

    you who have been my help.

Do not cast me off, do not forsake me,

    O God of my salvation!

If my father and mother forsake me,

    the Lord will take me up.

Teach me your way, O Lord,

    and lead me on a level path

    because of my enemies.

Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries,

    for false witnesses have risen against me,

    and they are breathing out violence.

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord

    in the land of the living.

Wait for the Lord;

    be strong, and let your heart take courage;

    wait for the Lord!

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