I’m thinking of our nation. In spite of the eruptions of evil we see all around us, we are called to rise up out of the ashes of fear and be a people of faith, hope and promise.

God is our answer. Please join me and pray Psalm 23 NKJV for ourselves and our nation…

The Lord is my shepherd... First, dear Lord, we need you as our own personal Shepherd who knows his sheep. Even in times of present distress, we trust you to lead, guide and protect us as we look to you to calm our fears.

I shall not want... In a relationship with the Shepherd of our souls, we have all we need even though this pandemic and confusion would have us think otherwise. Please help us to look up when deprivation screams at us.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside the still waters... Thank you for nourishing and refreshing us when our world has been turned upside down and inside out.

He restores my soul... Lord, sometimes I feel like a wilting flower. Then I cry out and your living water refreshes and strengthens me to bloom with your hope again.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death...Lord, the death and destruction all around us deepens the shadows and dark valley making us feel afraid.

Yet... I will fear no evil. How can I (we) proclaim that? Because you are greater than every evil thrown our way!

For You are with me... Thank you, Lord. I am not alone. You and I are a majority. And greater is your strength in me than the devil’s power in the world.

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me... When I feel you coax me back when I stray too near the edge of dangerous thoughts or paths... thank you.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies... Even when the enemy of my soul would want to convince me otherwise, you provide.

You anoint my head with oil, my cup runs over... Help me to count my blessings from your endless supply.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life... Thank you for pursuing me in times of joy, sorrow, freedom, and sheltering at home when our hearts are crying out for connection.

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever... Perfection, completeness and hope fulfilled; for with you I want for nothing.

Lord, please hear our prayers and heal our hearts and our nation as only you can do. Selah

Jan Merop, a prolific and award-winning writer, has had her column “Pause...and Consider” published weekly for almost 30 years. Her signature, Selah, indicating a time of silence, reflects her title. She and her husband, Ken, moved to Avery County two years ago and actively volunteer in the area. They have three sons and five grandchildren. Visit her blog Journeying with Jan at pauseandconsider.net.

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