As a young person, I carried a Bible with a list of scripture references, many of them from the Psalms, carefully Scotch-taped inside the cover. Each was a promise, or an encouragement, or a word of hope for a variety of everyday struggles: when you feel afraid, when you are lonely, when you are tempted, when you are sad. I thought of that list as I was reading the Psalms in preparation for this month of devotions, and I remembered that though I may not personally be afraid, or lonely, or tempted, or sad (or anything!), there are countless people in the world who ARE. And many of them may be so terribly afraid, or lonely, or tempted, or sad, or anything, that they cannot even shape words into prayer.
Together, as the community of faith, we can claim the promises of God and pray on behalf of those who have no words.
Praying Psalm 25 for Those who Feel Forgotten
Goodness and faithful love have been yours for ever, Yahweh, do not forget them. Hold not my youthful sins against me, but remember me as your faithful love dictates.–Psalm 25: 6-7, NJB Bible)
Faithfulness means not forgetting. I do my best to remain faithful to my calendar, my kids’ school reading requirements, my diet. I fail at times. Many times. I forget the commitments I’ve made, I forget to set aside book time, I (willingly) forget to choose fruit over fries.
And I forget people. I confess: I forget people. Though I have felt forgotten, still I forget. I forget there’s another side of the world full of people whose loves are so very much like mine (though their lives may be very unlike mine). For that matter, I forget there’s another side of my town, even of my street, where people are hungry, or hurt, or cold, or addicted, or angry, or afraid. I forget there are those in my own church, in my own family, who only wish to be seen.
To be remembered, faithfully.
keep your promise of remembrance.
In your goodness and love,
hold close those who are convinced the world
has forgotten them.
The world may, in fact, willingly choose to forget–
may turn a blind eye and a deaf ear,
may refuse to acknowledge those who are too different
or too difficult,
but you never do.
With the Psalmist we pray for all who feel forgotten:
show them the nearness of your path,
and guide them on it. (v.4)
Surround them with encouragement (v. 5)
in the hands and voices of those along the way
(let it be our hands, O God, and our voice;
use us to
share with them your generous forgiveness,
your constant kindness, your unfailing protection.) (vv. 8, 10, 21)
awaken the world (and us)
to see those we have made invisible,
to hear those we have tuned out.
Give us your long memory,
so we may see, hear, and remember
the value of all your beloved people.
Nicole Finkelstein-Blair is a 2001 graduate of Central Baptist Seminary and an ordained Baptist minister. As a military family for the past fifteen years, she and her husband, Scott, and their two boys have found “church homes” across the country and across denominations. For fun, she writes, reads, knits, and helps the school librarian make bulletin boards.