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O Lord, so many are against me. So many seek to harm me. I have so many enemies. So many say that God will never help me. But Lord, you are my shield, my glory, and my only hope. You alone can lift my head, now bowed in shame.

I cried out to the Lord, and he heard me from his Temple in Jerusalem. Then I lay down and slept in peace and woke up safely, for the Lord was watching over me. And now, although ten thousand enemies surround me on every side, I am not afraid. I will cry to him, "Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God!" And he will slap them in the face, insulting them and breaking off their teeth.

For salvation comes from God. What joys he gives to all his people. Psalm 3:1-8 (TLB)

Bob LaForge is from New Jersey. Often he does not know how to pray. Usually his prayers are check-the-box requests delivered in a steady, professional manner. The psalms show a different way of praying that is eloquent, raw, and emotional. They pull us in deeply to what the writer was thinking or feeling. In many of the psalms the author shares feelings - good and bad, uplifting and disturbing, but always honest.

Though about one third of the psalms are laments, almost every one ends on a positive note. This encourages Bob always to try to end his prayers on a positive note. But if he cannot, if he is feeling too broken, confused, or crushed, then it is okay to end where he is. He is confident that God would rather hear an honest prayer that does not end on a high note than one that is falsely hopeful.

The psalms teach us how to talk to God - to give God not only our requests but also our emotions. Prayers do not have to be as eloquent as the psalms. They just have to be honest and heartfelt.

Prayer: O God, we offer our whole hearts to you. Thank you for loving us just as we are, in Jesus' name. Amen.

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