Psalm 91 follows on from the Holy Spirit Prayer
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As I say in Daily Prayers, I used this Psalm as a daily prayer for a long time. Well, not all of it; a large chunk of it that I managed to learn by heart.
I was in a situation where I couldn’t speak or move much and I didn't have someone I could rely on to advocate for me.
Life was not safe. I was totally dependent on others. And others were not necessarily dependable.
In terms of care, I was living in London (UK) and depended on council care. There were some wonderful carers. But there were many who weren’t wonderful. I never quite knew who was going to walk through the door, or how they would treat me.
Even if a carer had the best of intentions, I was so ill that, without training, it would be weeks before someone could look after me in a way that did not cause me unnecessary pain.
I needed Divine protection.
I needed to know there was a source of strength and protection available beyond myself.
I was willing to train my mind to say Psalm 91 daily as a prayer for strength and a prayer for protection.
Saying this psalm prayer was part of my commitment to developing the belief that - on some level - I am, and can never be other than, safe.
As with some other famous prayers, such as the Holy Spirit Prayer , I changed the Psalm 91 prayer to make it more personal. The original words are below.
I turned it into a prayer in which I talk directly to God.
I turned it into a prayer which speaks directly about me.
The part about being protected by angels is especially comforting to many people.
Here is my personalised version of the Psalm 91 prayer:
Today, I dwell in the secret place of the most High,
and so I abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
Today I say of the LORD,
You are my refuge and my fortress:
my God; in You I trust.
Surely you deliver me from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
You cover me with Your feathers, and under Your wings I trust:
Your truth is my shield and buckler.
And so, I am not afraid for the terror by night;
nor for the arrow that flies by day;
Nor for the pestilence that walks in darkness;
nor for the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
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Katherine T Owen
A thousand shall fall at my side, and ten thousand at my right hand;
but it shall not come near me.
(I said up to here with a few lines from beneath - there are some lovely lines, but I had trouble remembering more than this!
I now say it all.)
Only with my eyes do I look and see the reward of the wicked.
Because I have made the LORD my refuge, even the most High, my habitation;
No evil befalls me, nor does any plague come nigh my dwelling.
For He gives his angels charge over me, to keep me in all my ways.
They bear me up in their hands, lest I dash my foot against a stone.
I tread upon the lion and the cobra:
the young lion and the serpent I trample under foot.
Because I have set my love upon Him, therefore He delivers me:
He sets me on high, because I have known His name.
I call upon Him, and He answers me:
He is with me in trouble;
He delivers me, and honours me.
With long life He satisfies me,
and shows me His salvation.”
(Psalm 91 prayer, adapted)
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust:
his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him:
I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
He shall call upon me, and I will answer him:
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him, and honour him.
With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.”
(Psalm 91 prayer,
...and so I abide in the shadow of the Almighty.”
Yes, I was living in a house that was not safe for me. (I had severe multiple chemical sensitivities – MCS , and would get horrendous symptoms from neighbouring flats being painted.)
Yes, I was living with people who could not or would not look after me well.
But, in reality, I was and am also living somewhere else.
Psalm 91 tells me I am living in “the secret place of the most High.”
Psalm 91 tells me I am always only ever a shadow’s distance away from God.
Whatever is going on for you right now, know that your reality remains the same.
On some level, you are not who you seem to be.
You are not where you seem to be.
God’s reality – a reality of love and perfection – is greater than the circumstances of your life. And, as you call on this reality more and more, it is coming into your life:
Perhaps first as a sense of peace, regardless of the circumstances.
Perhaps later as a change in those circumstances.
The meaning of the Psalm 91 prayer is that God is our home.
If we ever have been or ever will be in God, then that is where we are right now.
God is changeless.
God is Love.
It is not for God to change, it is for us to change our minds – to accept the reality of God’s love until our lives become transformed.
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