“My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.
Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.”
– Psalm 57:7-8
Songwriting during a pandemic has been an interesting challenge – lament feels like an easy theme to go to, but as I sat at the piano last September it just wasn’t sitting right with me. I felt led to Psalm 57 – a Psalm of David – written after he found refuge in a cave, while fleeing persecution from Saul. Now I’m not saying that a pandemic and fleeing persecution are comparable experiences, but it feels reasonable that David could have simply lamented his circumstances at this point – and I find David’s response to be much more emotionally complex than that in this Psalm.
One thing that struck me about this psalm is that in the midst of David’s situation (and yes, he cries out for mercy and makes his distress known) he’s not just crying out for God to save him but he’s pausing… to praise God. And he grounds himself in God’s steadfastness:
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
– Psalm 57:9-10
Psalm 57 has become one of my favorite psalms of late – inspiring the birth of our song ‘Awake My Soul’. Like the psalm, the song has been a grounding prayer for me personally, reminding me to take my prayer life beyond my situation in any given moment, and to stay rooted in continuing to praise God in the midst of imperfect circumstances.
Awake my soul before the dawn
Throughout the earth, your glories known
With love that covers everything I owe
In you made whole
Awake my soul; let music ring
Your glory fills the earth and skies
With love surpassing everything I’ve known
In you made whole
– “Awake My Soul,” Salt of the Sound
Author: Anita Tatlow from Salt of the Sound