Psalm 121

A Psalm-Prayer Meditation

God Who Watches,

We lift up our eyes to the hills—from where will our help come? Our help comes from you, who made heaven and earth. Yet we tend to rely on anything but you for help: our bank accounts, our credentials, our law enforcement, our militaries, our legislators, or simply our own gut feelings. All of these things are inevitably around us influencing our world or within us influencing our decisions. Teach us how to place all these things under your authority, submitting our resources, our allegiances, and our priorities to your kingdom and your will.

We lift up our eyes to the hills—from where will our help come? Our help comes from you, who made heaven and earth.

In this world, we face instability. Sometimes roofs leak, furnaces break, or tires go flat. Sometimes A-pluses plummet to D-minuses, jobs end abruptly, or promotions pass us by. Sometimes health turns to disease, tumors grow, or treatments fail. Sometimes memories fade, friendships drift to distance, or relationships explode with betrayal. Sometimes babies are born needing surgery, or are born not breathing, or aren’t born at all. We face instability. Do not let our feet be moved.

You who keep us will neither slumber nor sleep. We find ourselves tossing and turning at times, anxious about a tense email or a looming diagnosis, distraught about the violence and oppression in the world, angered when the wicked prosper or the earth itself unleashes disaster. Help us to find our rest in you. Teach us to trust that you don’t forget us when the sun goes down. Send your Spirit to protect the ones we love and to restore our souls. Be our keeper so that the sun does not strike us by day, nor the moon by night.

And Lord, will you keep us from all evil? Not one of us is above temptation to exert our strength over another’s weakness, to assert our desires over another’s needs, to commit adultery by our lust or murder by our hatred, to lie when it’s more expedient than the truth, to harden our hearts, to meet opposition with wrath instead of gentleness, and more than all of these, not one of us is above the temptation to save our harshest judgments for others. Save us from ourselves. We ask you to keep our going out and our coming in from this time on and forevermore.

In Christ’s name, amen.

Learning from Subscribers


Prayer in communal worship is an integral part of our spiritual formation, not only because we learn how to pray by praying, but because in prayer we are constantly acknowledging the reality of God and God’s presence with us. We come to a deeper realization that we do not form ourselves spiritually; we are transformed through encountering God.

The practice of prayer in many forms is an integral part of our communal worship whether we call the prayers by their traditional liturgical names or not. The call to worship and an opening prayer remind us of the focus of our gathering and of God’s presence already with us. Prayer before, during, and after the proclamation of the Word opens our hearts to hear God by his Spirit through his Word. Prayers of intercession and the prayers of the people remind us that the invitation to call on our Present God for help is always extended to us. The blessing and benediction express our belief that God is with us as we are sent out.

When we pray during communal worship, we speak and hear one another’s joys and sorrows, fears and hopes, struggles and triumphs. Formation into people who love God with their whole selves and who love neighbors as themselves happens when we pray together with openness to the Spirit’s movement within.

—Dr. Heather Cowie is pastor at The Road Church and a spiritual director in Calgary, Alberta. She is cofounder and codirector of The Studion School for Spiritual Direction. She loves to see people encounter God through conversation, prayer, silence, and solitude.

Jordan Humm is a sewist for Conscious Clothing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she lives with her husband, Ryan, and their three young children, Silas, Shepherd, and Rowan. She studied creative writing and theology at Hope College and is on hiatus from divinity studies at Western Theological Seminary.

Reformed Worship 143 © March 2022, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.