Let Burning Coals Fall

Sue Monk Kidd says each week she selects a psalm and then daily takes a few moments to pray through it. She tries to live with it throughout the days ahead, returning to it each day, praying it as if it were her own prayer--whispering its pleas for help or joining in its praise and worship. Slowly the psalm becomes her prayer. Usually, by the end of the week, she can identify her own personal situation somewhere in it.She suggests that when it is difficult to identify with the psalmist--for instance when he writes with vengeance against his enemies--that we think of them as our "inner" personal enemies such as greed, fear, pride, lust, and jealousy.

She once found it difficult to pray a section of Psalm 140:10 (RSV): "Let burning coals fall upon them. Let them be cast into pits, no more to rise!" The thought of such vengeance struck her as repulsive until she realized she could use it to call down burning coals on one of her inner enemies. 

At the time she was wrestling with an irrational fear of breast lumps. She'd had two benign ones removed within a short space of time. It had been a tormenting time going through the surgery and biopsy while waiting and wondering. The thought of having to go through another such time left her weak with fear.

Through the psalm, she was able to name her inner enemy. She asked God to help her cast her fear into the pits, no more to rise. As she entered more deeply into the psalm, she became drawn intimately into God's presence each time she prayed it. Gradually God gave her strength to overcome the fear.

Thank You, Jesus, that You deliver me from all my fears. 

"This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles" (Psalm 34:6).