The people of Israel made their way to Jerusalem every year, walking to the great feasts. And on their walks, they sang their prayer. The Psalms of Ascent (Psalms 120-134) are considered by many to be the walking songs of the people on pilgrimage “up” to Jerusalem. Listen to this familiar one through that lens, as if you were walking on one of the yearly pilgrimages to the feast. Psalm 121 A song of ascents. I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. The next time you take a walk-as-prayer, particularly if you aren’t sure what or how to pray, or have felt distracted more than present on your walks recently, consider listening to these Psalms as you go (there are lots of options for hearing the Scriptures read aloud—apps and websites abound! Or you could even record them yourself before you go, and listen to your own voice praying these words as you walk along!). Let these ancient words orient you to the God that walks with you along the way. Let them give words to your soul’s longings (ones you maybe didn’t even know were there!). Let them be a space of wrestling as you walk, too, if that is what comes up as you listen. Consider what you are “ascending” to. Not Jerusalem, probably, but is there some (literal or figurative) “destination” you are seeking as you walk? Be with God, while you are on the way, in whatever comes up as you listen to these words.

Posted by Jamie Bonilla at 2022-07-22 14:53:50 UTC