EDITORIAL: Prayer for our country
IN BOTH the Hebrew and the Christian worlds, we hear about the Book of Psalms that in it are some of the most beautiful poetry ever written, but many people find that these verses describe human problems so well that they make excellent prayers. The Hebrew title of the book translates to “praises.” The word “psalm” comes from the Greek psalmoi, meaning “songs.” Originally, its 150 poems were meant to be sung and were used in ancient Jewish worship services, accompanied by lyres, flutes, horns, and cymbals. King David established a 4,000 piece orchestra to play during worship (1 Chronicles 23:5). Because the Psalms are poems, they use poetic devices such as imagery, metaphors, similes, personification, and hyperbole. In reading the Psalms, believers must take these tools of language into account. And the following are the general types of hymns: laments, praise, thanksgiving, celebrations of God’s law, wisdom, and expressions of confidence in God. Jesus Christ loved the Psalms. With his dying breath, he quoted Psalm 31:5 from the cross: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46, NIV). While many of the psalms are individual prayers for personal favors and needs, some of the most moving psalms are communal in nature, meant for the community, family, and the nation. And with the election season brewing up, with candidates promising us everything good that the mundane world can offer, let us share with our readers and political leaders, as well, some excerpts of our song and prayer for our country, our Psalm 68: We long for the day when God will take over our country. When wickedness will be overcome and selfishness subdued. When our Filipino people will begin to love one another again. There will be clean air to breathe and pure water to drink. There will be better schools for the young. Hospitals for all who are ill and jobs for those who seek them. Everyone will feel needed and loved in our country. The child, the laborer, the executive, the woman, the senior citizen. There will be dignity and freedom and equal rights. There will be homes for all to live in and parks to play in. And all our people will have time for one another. And here’s our Pssalm 58, for our leaders and those who wish to seek public office: My heart grieves, oh Lord, over the leaders of our nation, Who play God with the lives of men. With the clever twisting of half-truths, they gather followers into their folds And manipulate them into carrying out their own selfish purposes. They blind men to personal conscience and responsibility And enslave them to the wishes and ambitions of the selfish state. There are starry-eyed mystics who assume that they are God’s special gift to mankind And who through devious tricks and inscrutable gifts, Create their own little cults of misled disciples. But You shall have the last word, oh God, And those who will try to take Your place in our country Or who stand in Your way as You seek to draw all of us to Yourself and Your love Will finally fall victim to Your justice.