Monasteries of the Heart

Prayer: Week of July 26

Psalm 109
Do not be silent, O God of my praise.
Wicked and deceiving words are being said about me.
Hateful things are said for no reason.

In return for my friendship, they slander me,
though all I had done was pray for them.
They have repaid my kindness with evil,
my love with hatred.

Let them stand before a corrupt judge,
and let them be surrounded by false accusations.
When they are judged, may they be found guilty,
and let their prayer be counted as crime.

Let their life be cut short
and may someone else take their place.
Let their children be orphaned
and their spouses be left alone.

Let their children be wandering beggars
far from their ruined homes.
Let their creditors seize their possessions
and strangers take their profits.

Let no one show them kindness;
let no one take care of their orphans.
Let their families die out,
and their names disappear in one generation.

Let the crimes of their ancestors be held against them,
and their parents’ sins never be forgotten.
Let their memory be removed from the earth.

They never thought of being kind,
but persistently persecuted the poor and the brokenhearted.

They loved cursing,
so curses came to them gladly.
They had no love for blessing,
so blessings escaped them.

They wrapped themselves up in their curses,
which soaked right into them like water,
deep into their bones like oil.
May these same curses wrap them like a cloak,
as a belt always around their waists.
This is the way my accusers will be repaid,
all who speak evil against me.

Defend me, O God, for the sake of your name.
Show your great kindness and rescue me.
I am poor and helpless,
my heart is wounded within me.

I am passing away like an evening shadow,
I am shaken off like a locust.
My knees are weak from lack of food,
my body is thin and gaunt;
I have become an object of scorn;
people shake their heads when they see me.

Help me, O God,
save me because of your love.
Let them know that this is the work of your hand.

They may curse, but you will bless.
Let them be put to shame,
and make your faithful one glad.
Let my accusers be clothed with dishonor;
cover them with a cloak of their own shame.

To you, O God, I will give my thanks aloud;
in the assembly I will praise you
for you stand at the side of the poor,
to defend them against unjust accusers.

Have you learned the lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you and disputed passage with you?
—Walt Whitman