Author’s Note: Interested readers can find all previous volumes of this series here.
“Where does one find comfort during these difficult days? A recent Pew Research Center survey offers some insight: “Few Americans say their house of worship is open, but a quarter say their faith has grown amid pandemic.”
Turning to Him during a crisis is not only expected but explained in a well-researched hypothesis called the “God gene.”
Remember how the churches were packed after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001? And of course, that old cliché “There are no atheists in foxholes” is always relevant.
For those already blessed with the gift of faith, you draw upon it during good times and bad. You turn to Him and His word every day in prayer, seeking guidance and problem resolution. You ask for healing, strength, and courage while offering praise and thanks.
However, if you are not a believer and never read the Bible, but today need to calm your heart and soul — here is a life raft of hope — Psalm 91.
But first, a little background. The Book of Psalms is a chapter in the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible with 150 prayers of praise. Here is how my NIV Study Bible describes the Psalms: “It speaks to God in prayer, and it speaks of God in praise – also in professions of faith and trust.”
For lovers of poetry, who are unfamiliar with the Psalms, you will be awestruck how language is transformed into “paint” — illustrating, conveying, and projecting love, fear, defeat, devastation, suffering, perseverance, and victory onto God’s canvas.
Psalm 91 is a beautifully written dialogue between God and Man. You will read how He offers a blanket of protection against a host of maladies (including plague and pestilence) to anyone who believes and worships Him. That is why Psalm 91 is known as the “prayer of protection.”
The Psalm’s 16 verses are displayed below in blocks between some brief commentary.
Now, let’s bow our heads and read this most glorious, divinely inspired, uplifting ancient prayer.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust" (Psalm 91: 1-2).
Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand [enemies] may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked (Psalm 91: 3-8).
In the opening eight verses, God offers you protection. In the following verses, He explains His “protection plan,” but first requires a pledge of devotion. He begins with power vested in the word “If” — referencing and mirroring the supposed “truth” stated in the opening verse.
If you say, "The Lord is my refuge," and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone(Psalm 91: 9 -12).
What’s not to like? God “will command his angels” to protect us. In return, all He asks is that we recognize, take refuge, and dwell in Him (meaning worship Him) as “the Most High.” How can we possibly reject His generous offer of mercy? Perhaps now is the perfect time to reconsider His offer if it was initially rejected?
In the previous verses, God offered us protection against a multitude of physical threats. The final four verses begin with His vow to protect you from moral threats represented by the lion and serpent. But since you have already pledged to worship Him, again, he will “rescue” and “protect” you.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. "Because he loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation" (Psalm 13-16).
Discover the power of Psalm 91’s divine conversation! You will find that it is even more effective when you read it often, aloud, or with a group. May I suggest a ZOOM reciting with close friends or family?
Today, unleash His power of protection in all aspects of your life — especially against the “pestilence that stalks in the darkness” and “the plague that destroys at midday.”
Myra Adams is a conservative writer and media producer with numerous national credits. MyraAdams.com She is also Executive Director of www.SignFromGod.org, a ministry dedicated to educating people about the Shroud of Turin. Contact: MyraAdams01@gmail.com @MyraKAdams