Read the following psalm and allow it to be your prayer to God today.
Psalm 35 (NIV)
Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me. Take up shield and armor; arise and come to my aid. Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me. Say to me, “I am your salvation.”
May those who seek my life be disgraced and put to shame; may those who plot my ruin be turned back in dismay. May they be like chaff before the wind, with the angel of the Lord driving them away; may their path be dark and slippery, with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.
Since they hid their net for me without cause and without cause dug a pit for me, may ruin overtake them by surprise—may the net they hid entangle them, may they fall into the pit, to their ruin. Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord and delight in his salvation. My whole being will exclaim, “Who is like you, Lord? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them.”
Ruthless witnesses come forward; they question me on things I know nothing about. They repay me evil for good and leave me like one bereaved. Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting. When my prayers returned to me unanswered, I went about mourning as though for my friend or brother. I bowed my head in grief as though weeping for my mother. But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee; assailants gathered against me without my knowledge. They slandered me without ceasing. Like the ungodly they maliciously mocked; they gnashed their teeth at me.
How long, Lord, will you look on? Rescue me from their ravages, my precious life from these lions. I will give you thanks in the great assembly; among the throngs I will praise you. Do not let those gloat over me who are my enemies without cause; do not let those who hate me without reason maliciously wink the eye. They do not speak peaceably, but devise false accusations against those who live quietly in the land. They sneer at me and say, “Aha! Aha! With our own eyes we have seen it.”
Lord, you have seen this; do not be silent. Do not be far from me, Lord. Awake, and rise to my defense! Contend for me, my God and Lord. Vindicate me in your righteousness, Lord my God; do not let them gloat over me. Do not let them think, “Aha, just what we wanted!” or say, “We have swallowed him up.”
May all who gloat over my distress be put to shame and confusion; may all who exalt themselves over me be clothed with shame and disgrace. May those who delight in my vindication shout for joy and gladness; may they always say, “The Lord be exalted, who delights in the well-being of his servant.”
My tongue will proclaim your righteousness, your praises all day long.
Psalm 35 (NRSV)
Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me! Take hold of shield and buckler, and rise up to help me! Draw the spear and javelin against my pursuers; say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”
Let them be put to shame and dishonor who seek after my life. Let them be turned back and confounded who devise evil against me. Let them be like chaff before the wind, with the angel of the Lord driving them on. Let their way be dark and slippery, with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.
For without cause they hid their net for me; without cause they dug a pit for my life. Let ruin come on them unawares. And let the net that they hid ensnare them; let them fall in it—to their ruin.
Then my soul shall rejoice in the Lord, exulting in his deliverance. All my bones shall say, “O Lord, who is like you? You deliver the weak from those too strong for them, the weak and needy from those who despoil them.”
Malicious witnesses rise up; they ask me about things I do not know. They repay me evil for good; my soul is forlorn. But as for me, when they were sick, I wore sackcloth; I afflicted myself with fasting. I prayed with head bowed on my bosom, as though I grieved for a friend or a brother; I went about as one who laments for a mother, bowed down and in mourning.
But at my stumbling they gathered in glee, they gathered together against me; ruffians whom I did not know tore at me without ceasing; they impiously mocked more and more, gnashing at me with their teeth.
How long, O Lord, will you look on? Rescue me from their ravages, my life from the lions! Then I will thank you in the great congregation; in the mighty throng I will praise you.
Do not let my treacherous enemies rejoice over me, or those who hate me without cause wink the eye. For they do not speak peace, but they conceive deceitful words against those who are quiet in the land. They open wide their mouths against me; they say, “Aha, Aha, our eyes have seen it.”
You have seen, O Lord; do not be silent! O Lord, do not be far from me! Wake up! Bestir yourself for my defense, for my cause, my God and my Lord! Vindicate me, O Lord, my God, according to your righteousness, and do not let them rejoice over me. Do not let them say to themselves, “Aha, we have our heart’s desire.” Do not let them say, “We have swallowed you up.”
Let all those who rejoice at my calamity be put to shame and confusion; let those who exalt themselves against me be clothed with shame and dishonor.
Let those who desire my vindication shout for joy and be glad, and say evermore, “Great is the Lord, who delights in the welfare of his servant.” Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all day long.
Creative Options for Reading Psalms
Draw a Prayer
The Psalms are filled with rich imagery. After reading Psalm 35, draw the images that come to mind. You don’t have to be an artist to find value in drawing the images and emotions behind the Psalms.
If you don’t enjoy drawing, you can write out Psalm 35 using different colored pens or pencils. Creatively writing out the psalm can help you connect with it in a new way.
Listen to a Song
Poor Bishop Hooper publishes a new song each week. Each song creatively presents the words of a psalm.
You can find their song based on Psalm 35 here.
Read with a Friend
Find a friend or family member and read the psalm together. Together, talk about what Psalm 35 means to you. Sometimes having another perspective can help you gain new insights.
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