"In return for my friendship they accuse me,
but I am a man of prayer."
Psalm 109:4 (NIV)
"'The vision of God,' says Bishop Westcott, 'makes life a continuous prayer.'
And in that vision all fleeting things resolve themselves,
and appear in relation to things unseen...
'I am prayer,' said a Psalmist.
'In everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving,' said an Apostle."
The Hidden Life of Prayer by David M'Intyre
The Psalms often show a writer who is facing great adversity, but is learning to "find themselves" in God- finding comfort in His presence and provision. Think of the image of God's presence with the Psalmist in Psalm 139, or of the images of God's attention and provision in Psalm 23. One of my favorite instances of a Psalmist learning to find themselves in God, however, is tucked away in an angry Psalm of lament. In Psalm 109:4, the phrase that the NIV renders "I am a man of prayer" is intentionally vague. While "I am a man of prayer" is a valid translation, tt could be translated: "I am in prayer," or even "I am prayer." In short, the Psalmist is not just describing prayer as a habit of his, but simply attaching himself to prayer.
This has made me wonder on and off for the last couple of years: What kind of intimacy with God would someone have to reach in order to be able to say: I am prayer? Or is the Psalmist expressing a reality that is already there: if you have given yourself to God, you can only really find yourself and be yourself when you are in connection with Him from then on. You have been bound to Him. You are prayer.
This time of the semester is one of my favorites. While the August and September season of intense sowing (meeting new people, starting new relationships, etc) is always fruitful and rewarding, the subsequent months of really getting to know students and really getting to be on the front row of God's work in their lives are my favorite part of being a pastor.