A Prayer Against Oppression
If I could go back and offer my twenty-something self, sound, biblical advice, praying against oppression would be at the top of my list. Doing so might have brought about the freedom I experience today much earlier. Decades so. Instead, I try to capitalize on conversations with twenty-somethings or thirty-somethings, or even forty to fifty-somethings struggling with the same issues.
The conversation generally goes something like this:
My friend begins to talk about her day or week. She confesses she does not feel like herself when she is in a particular environment. My friend doesn’t think one of the other women likes her. This person is much funnier and more outgoing making her everyone’s favorite, while my friend finds herself emotionally blending into the wallpaper.
I know how she feels. For years, I had layers of the same stuck to me. It’s one of the reasons I wrote Can You See Me, Now? Good news for the lonely, left out, and less than. The reality is that you and I engage in situations from work to church, and to family in which not everyone likes us. At least, they don’t seem to care what we say or do. There are others within the group who are preferred, leaving you and me in the shadows as outsiders. Often, we take these speculations and allow them free mental reign. We surmise, that if we were different then we would be enough. Heard. Seen. And known.
Advice on Man’s Oppression of my Twenty-Something Self
What I long to advise my twenty-something self is to stop blending into the wallpaper and seek divine help. On my own, I feel as if I am wearing an invisible lead jacket I cannot remove. The path forward lies in prayer, believing God can do what the Word of God declares he can do.
The Word of God shows us what we can pray to experience victory over the value and weight we give the opinions of those in our midst.
Redeem me from man’s oppression,
that I may keep your precepts. Psalm 119:134
A little further investigation helps us see the power we have before us. “Redeem” in this verse is used to denote the largest sense of deliverance. We cannot “redeem” ourselves. A source outside ourselves must come and do the work for us.
This is what the Psalmist asks for – divine intervention from “man’s oppression.” Scholars note that this particular request to be redeemed from man’s oppression is a call for freedom of opinion which is considered “the richest blessing which man can enjoy.” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)
That weight you feel? It’s real. As hard as you try, you will not be able to shake it off. But God has made a way for you and me to be the women he has created without concern for what others think or even if they don’t think about us at all.
Let’s start asking God to intervene by helping us stop the negative mindsets, the emotional heaviness, and the trips to the sidelines. Let Him teach us who we are in Christ and how to live in possession of the promises purchased for us.
A Prayer Against Man’s Oppression
Today my prayer is straightforward like Your Word on the issue. Intervene in the life of my friend today. I pray you will deliver her from her care and concern about how others ignore her, speak to her negatively, or treat her as if she doesn’t quite measure up. Redeem her from the heaviness of it all because she cannot free herself. Let man’s oppression have no hold. Replace the outside assessments and even her self-assessments, with truth. Teach her how you see her, what makes her special in your sight, and what a gift she is. Transform her inner understanding to such a degree she can walk out in the confidence of who you are making her become. Show her who she is in your sight. Let her know you see her, you think she’s exquisite. And your assessment, alone, matters.
In your glorious Name, Amen.
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