It been great reading though the Psalms again. And what a helpful prayer this is to take into to any new day.
I was especially struck by the last phrase, 'for to you I lift my soul'. What might it mean to lift the soul?
A good starting point is the ESV study Bible (by the way an excellent resource, and a very reasonably priced App at £10.49...no commission honest). And there I note that the phrase suggests 'deep dependance and allegiance'. That was helpful, but I wanted to get at the active idea behind the phrase, what is the 'lifting' all about? A cross reference took me to Psalm 25.1, To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. And there the comment is,
'The Hebrew expression occurs in many places in the OT.....it is an idom for, 'I direct my desire'Ah, here's the active component, for I need to direct and guide my desire. It seems that so often our Christian lives stall because of an undue emphasis upon grace and a fear of anything that might be perceived as 'trying harder to be a believer'. We are naturally attuned to shy away from any effort as justifying us before God, but we misunderstand the subsequent responsibility we have to 'make every effort' (2 Peter 1.5) to grow.
To lift up our soul then is to consciously take time and moments out in our normal everyday to acknowledge our total dependance upon God. It means to take our desires and longings and to redirect them in a way that brings pleasure to God. That does not mean that everything becomes 'religious', but rather that how I relate to others, how I do my work, how I care for my home and garden, how I stand up for justice, how I become a mouthpiece for the gospel, how I live, matters. To lift up my soul is to bring all of my life to God.
It is about prayer. Both the allocated personal times and the moment by moment chatting to God.
'The phrase ( 'lift up our soul') portrays prayer as an act in which individuals hold their conscious identity, their life in hands stretched out to God as a way of saying that their life depends completely and only upon the help of God.' James Mays Psalms.