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 32 for Those who Can no Longer Hide

I made my sin known to you, did not conceal my guilt. You are a refuge for me, you guard me in trouble, with songs of deliverance you surround me.–Psalm 32: 5a, 7, NJB

For kids playing hide-and-seek, the hiding part is fun… for awhile. Behind a tree, under the bed, braving the pricks of a rosebush, hushing the betrayal of the family dog. But there always comes a moment when the game has gone on too long. Though we intentionally sought the best possible hiding spot, hoping to win the game and outwit the seeker, inwardly, our countdown clock sounded. And at first, just a bit of nervousness passed over us; then full-blown insecurity; then utter (if irrational) fear: Is anyone coming? Where are they? It has been too long now…

The seeker always came.

The Seeker always does.

There’s relief in being found. Being found is being seen. Being named. Being called.

(There’s also relief, sometimes, in being found out. This, too, is true for children, who hide behind a closed door or under a sheltering blanket when they’ve broken a dish or clobbered a sibling. Being found out is being disciplined. Which is also, strangely enough, being loved–when the seeker is trusted, and when the seeker is loving.)

Maybe it’s time for the game to end. “Come out, come out, wherever you are…”


God, seeker of us all,

keep your promise of blessing,

finding and forgiving all who have been in hiding.

When your children hide away from one another,

and from you,

when they cannot find a friend,

when they cannot trust a parent,

seek them out. Befriend them. Embrace them.

Show them your trustworthiness and your faithful love

so they may feel safe.

Let them know that you have seen them,

that you have named them,

that you have called them out of hiding.

With the Psalmist we pray for all who can no longer stay hidden away:

give them courage to be honest, (v. 2b)

to be human,

so they can experience your forgiveness (v. 1)

and in turn forgive themselves and

those who have hurt them.

Regenerate them. Grow back their tired bodies

and faint hearts. (vv. 3-4)

When they hear your voice summoning them near,

let them experience the freedom of your deliverance, (v. 7)

and enfold them in your love. (v. 10)

Grant them an end to the game,

and let them rejoice to find a home, free,

in you.