As I recently read, ruminated upon, and prayed Psalm 12 aloud, I found that oh-so-predictable Bible magic happening again: The scripture proved itself a living word. The words seemed to revise themselves upon their canvas. That is to say, they applied almost too perfectly to the world I’m living in, the troubles happening all around me… and within me.

Here is how this particular psalm, as I read it in the ESV, sang itself like a new song. The italicized words here are those that seemed to revise themselves as I read.

Save the world, O Lord, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful — yes, those who are truly faithful to the Gospel of “love your neighbor” —  have vanished from among the children of man. Well, it certainly seems like they’re vanishing, anyway.

Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak. (And by the way, Save me, Lord, for I know you know that I do this, too.)

May the Lord cut off all flattering lips (and all flattering tweets), and cut off the tongue that makes great boasts — whether they be about himself or his self-interested supporters — those who say, “With our slogans and our red hats we will prevail, our nationalist propaganda is with us; who is master over us?”

“Because the 99%, the immigrants, and the refugees are plundered, because the needy groan — especially those African Americans still waiting to experience equality, and those children who are suffering inside American cages, stolen from their parents, traumatized for life, sick without their medication — I will now arise,” says the Lord; “I will place them in the safety for which they long.”

The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.

Remember, then, your promises, O Lord! You told us that these we have treated as ‘the least’ and ‘the last,’ they shall be first, and no white-supremacist agenda will go unnoticed by your omniscience or escape your justice.

You, O Lord, will keep them — all my neighbors, brown and black, Jew and Muslim, Mexican and South American — you will guard them from this [hateful, cruel, hard-hearted, “Christian”] generation forever. Even if they die under this oppression, you will be ever faithful to them, and they will not fall beyond the reach of your grace.

On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted — on the news, in the White House, and beyond.

God, do bless America … but bless America just as America blesses those who come to it for help. If such suffering is what it will take to wake up American hearts, let it be.

And to those with eyes to see, those with ears to hear, Lord, send comfort, hope, and swift relief from this fear-poisoned nation, this hypocrite, Anti-Christ church.

Let this present darkness only amplify my exaltation of your love, O Lord. Let it not darken my heart into any loss of compassion or grace.

[This personal revision is based on the English Standard Version of Psalm 12.]

Of course, the Psalms give us examples of all of the thoughts and feelings that God allows us, even invites us, to raise up to him. In praying words like these, we are not guaranteed that God will act as we would wish him to. It’s more likely that, in the act of praying, we might discover our own weaknesses and blindspots. And so I offer this as a sincere prayer, but also expecting that I will, in time, see the flaws within my own fervor, my own heart.

And I am finding other psalms, more contemporary laments, that suit these circumstances beautifully as well. Consider this, my favorite song about America, my own National Anthem, composed and sung by Joe Henry:

[Comments are welcome. I will read them. But I will only post the comments I’m grateful to have read. Mean-spirited comments will not only be rejected — the senders will be blocked.]