I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.
Psalm 121 is also known as one of the Hymns of Ascents. In times of old, when pilgrims walked all the way to Jerusalem to visit the Holy Places of Christ, this was one of the many Psalms and hymns sung along the way! So, this is a good Psalm to keep in our hearts as we journey to Pascha. This Psalm reminds us our help comes from the Lord, and that prayer can be done any time. Whether we pray aloud, or silently within our hearts, prayer helps us grow closer to God. We can talk to God by using our own words, or a prayer book, or by saying a Psalm. Sometimes, depending on what’s happening in our lives, we might feel sad or anxious, and may not even feel like praying for help. But, when we persevere with courage and pray regardless… these are the sweetest prayers of all to God.
Memorizing a Psalm is great thing to do on one’s own, or together as a family!
While snowbound for a week during a blizzard, my grandma Faith (Memory Eternal) challenged my kid brother and me to some memory work.
She picked her favourite Psalm (121), and my brother and I raced to see who could learn it the fastest.
Alas, it was a mercenary contest of sibling rivalry, and a great number of pennies were involved in betting against each other.
Upon this untimely discovery by my grandmother, the illegal (in her eyes) gambling operation was quickly nipped in the bud and the forbidden “winnings” never collected.
Consequently, the contest escalated to the next level. Evidently, remembering Bible verses for a short while was too easy, so my grandma (tough cookie that she was) gave pop quizzes days later.
Meanwhile, my brother shrewdly – um, wisely… discovered how to wield a Bible Concordance, and learned other scripture passages to his advantage. For instance, at the next kerfuffle, he’d simply narrow both eyes at me and bring things to a grinding halt – just saying the reference: “Leviticus 19:17.” Or, with furrowed brow, sniff disdainfully: “Psalm 31:18.”
He learned before I ever did, that distractions are sibling-safe ways out of predicaments!
Decades later, these Psalms that we learned together by heart, remain in our hearts.
And to my brother (who still owes me 81 pennies): “Philemon 1:7 ~ Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.”
What a blessing.