|Each day I receive email messages from people I do not know. Their letters often reveal some type of internal or external suffering. This reality reflects the life of people across our planet. The experience of suffering is not new to humanity’s history. Long ago, the author of Psalm 23 heard the cries of those in travail and addressed a prayer to bring comfort and peace. This psalm invites those who suffer to be confident in our divine companion whose presence eases what distresses and disturbs us. It is my hope that the following prayer based on Psalm 23 will speak to those who long for an alleviation of suffering, whether our own personal struggle or that of others. Let us trust that the journey through the dark valley is not the end of the story.
A Psalm of Compassion (based on Psalm 23)
Caring Shepherd and Guide of my Soul,
many things I want—for self and others:
freedom from worry, healing from hurts,
financial security, health of body and spirit,
sturdy relationships, lasting happiness,
an end of needless suffering and sorrow,
a peaceful planet where everything thrives.
You assure me that I do not have to want;
you will lead me to an inner core of peace
and guide me to ways that restore my spirit.
Suffering will serve as a profound teacher,
a catalyst of empathy and understanding
that unites all who sit at the table of life.
You bid me come to you, to release my fears
and allow you to anoint my worries with trust,
to let you lead me to your resting place
where I can listen to your calm, assuring voice.
No matter how dark the valley of tears,
no matter how unending the turbulence,
you are there with your embracing love.
You are forever a reliant, caring presence.
You breathe your strength into my weakness.
You promise to be a peaceful haven.
You are the home where I can always dwell
in your abiding goodness and compassion.
(Prayers of Boundless Compassion, Joyce Rupp)