Psalm 35 (Psalms on the Trail)

Psalm 35:5 Dandelion seed about to fly: Conodoguinet to Miller's Gap Rd. 5/10/13

Let them be like chaff before the wind, 

and let the angel of the Lord drive them away….

Give me justice, O Lord my God,

according to your righteousness.”  Psalm 35:5, 24

Sometimes, in reading and praying through the psalms, I have to climb out of my safe place and dare to put my feet on someone else’s path.  In order to do that, in order to understand the depths of a psalmist’s words, I must use some compassionate imagination.  While this psalmist is confronted by injustice and oppression, I am not.  So I put myself in the place of many around me who are.  I read this psalm imagining I am—who?  Perhaps a teen-age boy in Central America trying to escape across the border north from the drug gangs that threaten him to join or be killed.  Perhaps a Syrian family, neighborhood in ruins, now refugees with small children, beginning a dangerous journey.  Perhaps a girl who is being sexually abused by a family member and is afraid to tell anyone.  Or perhaps the middle school boy I met last year, a person of color, homeless, trying to get an education in an ineffective and overwhelmed school system where his science teacher had given up trying to teach his class.  What wrongs need to be addressed?  What chaff driven away in their lives so they can live freely?  What justice do they need to work for them?  I invite you today to risk praying for a situation where you are aware justice is needed.  Read the whole psalm as if you were that person.  But be forewarned: praying is a start, but not enough, not an end. And that is what is risky about praying the Psalms like Jesus did and then following in his way.


  1. Take this verse with you and ponder its meaning for you throughout the day.  What do you notice?  What do you wonder?   For whom do you pray this psalm today?
  2. Or read all of Psalm 35 to discover how this verse fits into the psalm or to discover a different verse.
  3. Or comment with a photo of your own that illustrates this verse’s meaning for you.

Tomorrow’s verse:  Psalm 36:9

Starting January 1, 2016, for 150 days I am posting a daily psalm verse with a photo that is a visual meditation on the text for me.  Each day a verse from the next psalm is chosen until all 150 psalms have been featured.   To participate you may subscribe to my blog at or “friend” me on Facebook and watch for the daily links to blog posts.  Disclaimer:  I am not a photographer and most of the photos are from a cell phone or small camera while hiking the Appalachian Trail or the C&O Canal/Great Allegheny Passage Trail.