Daily Worship

Against Complacency

James Cathcart January 09, 2023 0 1
Image credit: Unsplash
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Psalm 29 (NRSVA)

1 Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name;
    worship the Lord in holy splendour.

3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
    the God of glory thunders,
    the Lord, over mighty waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;
    the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
    the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
    and Sirion like a young wild ox.

7 The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
8 The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
    the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

9 The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl,
    and strips the forest bare;
    and in his temple all say, ‘Glory!’

10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
    the Lord sits enthroned as king for ever.
11 May the Lord give strength to his people!
    May the Lord bless his people with peace!

From the thundering voice of God here in this psalm, to the gentleness of Jesus, and the groans and sighs too deep for words of the Holy Spirit we can confidently say that the Trinity has range! We are made in the image of God and our God is expressive.

Do we respond with a range of expression to God? As I wrote yesterday God does not require our excellence, our best. God simply requires us — to share the wonder of life with us. God does not require theatrics for the sake of it, just our honest selves in all their natural variety.

Do you have a ‘prayer voice’? I’m sure I do. I try to come to God in an open and unaffected way but I imagine I fall into certain speech patterns out of habit when praying aloud. This is no terrible thing — we often have habitual tones of voice we use in different contexts. In our families and close friendships we often establish shorthands — my wife and I almost have ‘jingles’ little silly sung snippets we drop into conversation semi-regularly.

Cultivating comfortable ways of communicating with people we know well can be a strong way of nurturing friendship, and because we are engaged and responsive we are able to adapt depending on the circumstance. From just our friend’s sigh we can adjust our tone.

In the same way our prayers, spoken aloud or in our heads (or indeed unspoken), to be true forms of communication simply need to be engaged. Having a ‘prayer voice’ if it is genuine and heartfelt is not a problem. But let’s look out for having a ‘prayer voice’ that is deeply unlike our own to impress others, or to fit in, or to hide behind so we don’t have to pay attention.

Today we are inspired by the expansive voice of God we find in Psalm 29, a voice big enough and of wide enough range to fold in all our voices.



Dear God,

we ascribe to you

glory and splendour

as we come to meet you in the midst

of our everyday lives

we respect and honour you

by bringing ourselves

just as we are, in humility,

before you.