The Sons of Korah may have written Psalm 42 by these waterfalls that flow into Israel’s Jordan River. I can imagine this because I have experienced many fruitful times of prayer by waterfalls, streams, lakes, or an ocean.

It seems they were longing for waters of refreshment for their souls. This Psalm is a Lament, a prayer song to overcome depressing times, even the darkest of all, the “Dark Night of the Soul” when God seems absent. By example the Psalmist shows us that what enables us to prevail and be faithful to God in darkness is to keep thirsting for him.

Praying at the Ocean

Two years ago I had one of those special times with God by the ocean. I was in Maui  at Puamana Beach watching my son and daughter surf.  As I did I listened to the ocean waves and meditated on Psalm 42 which I had memorized previously.

The Psalm led me to pray about some difficult trials and dark times. And yet it also helped me to be at peace. God gave me the same message in the rhythms of the ocean’s violent thrashing and soothing surf.

With the Psalmist I was at peace in God’s presence looking into my life and the ocean. The waves and words flowed together into my soul. I waited… I breathed them in… I breathed them out…

Waters of Life for Day and Night

As I prayed I realized that God, like the echoing sounds of the waves and the unfolding insights of Psalm 42, flows over me… into me… and through me… Love always begins with God above me, then it enters me, and finally it can overflow from me to others. Indeed, Jesus said that his Spirit is like living waters that can enter into us, fill us, and flow out from us to others who are thirsty (John 7:37-39).

Psalm 42 affirms that God “directs” his love to us in the day and that he stays “with” us in the dark night. God is good, not only in times of blessing, but also in times of difficulty when we may not feel his comfort.

Throughout the week I kept returning to this experience.  A prayer poem that paraphrases Psalm 42 flowed through me in waves. I pray that it blesses you too!

Waves of Love

Panting for God as a deer for water
Longing after longing waits
Over me… In me… Through me…

Men’s criticisms thrash my faith
Tear after tear rains
Over me… In me… Through me…

Recalling sacred times with friends
Memory after memory graces
Over me… In me… Through me…

Relying on God’s unseen presence
Hope after hope rises
Over me… In me… Through me…

The Deep calls to my deep
Wave after wave washes
Over me… In me… Through me…

Day and night heaven’s music plays
Song after song delights
Over me… In me… Through me…

Riding his waves of love
Prayer after prayer lives
Over me… In me… Through me…

More Soul Shepherding

Have you ever prayed a Psalm in a nature setting similar to the one in the Psalm? It’s a powerful experience! I love to do this and often include this exercise in the retreats I lead. Read Praying a Psalm in its Nature Setting for some of my favorites.

We have lots more of the prayer poems from My Psalms Prayer Book. Here’s one from Psalm 77, “In the Dark Night Remember God.”

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