Select Your Cookie Preferences

We use cookies and similar tools that are necessary to enable you to use our website, to enhance your experience, and provide our services, as detailed in our Cookie Notice. We also use these cookies to understand how customers use our services (for example, by measuring site visits) so we can make improvements.

If you agree, we'll also use cookies to complement your website experience, as described in our Cookie Notice. This may include using third party cookies for the purpose of displaying and measuring interest-based ads. Click "Customise Cookies" to decline these cookies, make more detailed choices, or learn more.


Camel caravan


"Do not remember again us the iniquities of our ancestors; let your compassion come speedily to meet us."


Psalm 79 is entitled “Plea for Mercy for Jerusalem” and is a wonderful Psalm with regard to thinking of how we react to disaster and the resultant feelings of anger and despair. Can these feelings be channelled into something more positive such as compassion or forgiveness?

Well, we’ve certainly seen a disaster in the last week, haven’t we? At the time of writing, our economy has gone down the pan with a so-called mini-budget which has actually had far-reaching consequences; with the value of pensions at risk of plummeting to rock bottom, increased mortgage re-payments and of course, placement of further burdens on the poorest in society. 

As a priest, I try to be apolitical, but I can’t really because politics affects our society and it is up to me and others to speak up against injustice and inequality and lobby for change for the better. The situation is bleak in the UK and I am angry at what has happened to our country. However, Psalm 79 helps us to re-focus our feelings.

The Psalm records the overthrowing of the temple in Jerusalem which happened in 587 BC and also in AD 70.  Innocent people were butchered and blood was flowing in the streets (verses 1-3) and the neighbouring lands were laughing (verse 4). The people of Israel cry out to God for vengeance (verse 6) but then they ask for God’s compassion in verse 8 as they confess that they are not “without sin.”  They pray for a beautiful ending in which “we your people, the flock of your pasture, will give thanks to you for ever.”

For all of us, at this time, we need to reflect on how this situation in our own country has developed, what part we all have had to play in choosing our leaders, and how we can improve our society. Let us pray with this Psalm for confession and compassion, a release from our sins, and a true heart to right our wrongs in whatever small way we can. Small actions can bring about big change.


1. FIND A Relaxing PLACE. 

Make sure that you are in a quiet place. Sit comfortably but alert – feet flat on the floor, back pushed hard against the back of the chair. Start your reflection by being open and ready to God’s presence.

2. Focus on your breathing.

Focus on your breathing. Pay attention to in-breaths and out-breaths. You may think of breathing in God’s life and peace and breathing out any tension.

3. Be aware of your body.

Be aware of your body. Let your aches and pains be there. Rest your hands in your lap; you don’t need to be doing anything with them now. Rest your feet on the floor; you don’t need to go anywhere. Shrug your shoulders, ease your neck. Take time to become still and repeat quietly verse 8. Think of a situation which you are finding particularly difficult to work through at the moment. 

4. Listen to God 

Then, in the stillness, listen to what God might be saying to you.

5. Finish with this prayer:

Great God, help to rebuild us in moments of despair. May we lay our personal troubles and the troubles of the world open before you in asking for your compassion and love.  Teach us to rest in your mercy, trust in your defence, practice forgiveness and work for the good of future generations. Through Christ your eternal Son, Amen.

Posted on October 6th 2022

Loading... Updating page...