I Can Be Brave for You are Behind Me, Before Me, Beside Me

Ever since Mel Sawatzky read his “Psalm 23 in El” at a writers’ gathering, I’ve meditated on the psalm with different letters of the alphabet and invited readers to play along. I’m happy to report that we’ve now completed 13 of the 26 letters of the alphabet!

Below is my most recent version using the letter B, followed by the list of all of the entries so far. Most appear as just a few lines with a link to the entire psalm, but some are given in their entirety since they are otherwise unavailable on-line.

If you care to experiment with writing your own version of Psalm 23 using a letter of the alphabet, I’d love to see what you come up with. Send me a link or the entire psalm, and I’ll add you to my list!

Psalm 23 Brought to You by the Letter B

The Lord is the Bread of life;
I am blessed by his bounty.

He bids me unburden my baggage,
breathe, breathe, and find new balance.

He binds up my brokenness.
He bears me on the best byways
because of his benevolence.

Even when I am bewildered and bleary,
I can be brave,
for you are behind me, before me, beside me.

You banish the bleakness
with brilliance and beauty.

You prepare a banquet before my enemies.
You bestow blessing upon blessing,
beyond belief.
My bowl brims over with all your benefits.

Surely you build me
and buoy me up,
and I will blossom
re-born in the Lord

where I belong forever.

My Abba Psalm (in A) – Elfrieda Schroeder

Abba is my Alpha and my Omega.
Absolute rest beside green pastures and aquamarine streams
acquiesce my soul to acquire the right paths for my Abba’s sake.
I am not afraid even though I walk through alleys.
Abba, you are with me.
Your arms around me
give me absolute assurance.
Abundance at my table astounds my archenemies
You anoint my head with oil.
Abba, it is above and beyond what I need!
Astounding assurance of your absolute love
assists me always.
I will abide in Abba’s abode all of my days.

Psalm 23 Brought to You by the Letter B – April Yamasaki

He binds up my brokenness.
He bears me on the best byways
because of his benevolence.
Even when I am bewildered and bleary,
I can be brave,
for you are behind me, before me, beside me.

Psalm 23 in the Key of C – James Matichuk

My Creator is caretaker and captain,
with him I crave nothing
At his command, I lay couched in clover,
he carries me to where calm currents run their course,
He cleanses and collects me—
my cowardly, crumbled soul.

Psalm 23 in the Letter D – Chris Wallace

Declarations of delight and desire do not dwindle for days,
and I definitively dwell with the Divine
for decades and decades of dawns!

Psalm 23 in the Letter F – Clifton Roth

The faithful Father fulfills me.
He frees me from frenzy
and the fury of frantic feelings;
He freshens my fortitude.
He firms up my footing,
affirming the fame of his Fatherliness.
Finding myself in foggy frame of mind, I fear no foe,
for I am fastened to you.
You fend off fierce foxes and you feel my feelings.
You fix a feast for me in front of ferocious fools.
Your favor falls freely down onto my forehead and face,
my flagon is full and flowing over.
For your friendship and faithful love is fail-proof
and will fervently follow me,
and I will be fulfilled in Father’s family forever.

Psalm 23 in the Letter G – April Yamasaki

Even though I grumble
and groan at the gloom of death,
I grasp your hand for you are with me.
You guard and ground and grow me.

You gather me in for the grand gala,
while others might glance and glare;
I glow in gleaming garments and golden garland;
my goblet overflows.

Psalm 23 in the Letter H – April Yamasaki

When my heart is heavy and the days are hard,
I hold on, hang on,
to your hand that holds me:
your hedge of protection, my haven from harm,
your Holy Spirit, my Highest Help.

Psalm 23 in El – Mel Sawatzky

He liberates my languishing soul
by leading me down His lane that’s laudable,
even though I limp through the lowlands of lingering lament.
I am Li-on- heart-ed for there is no lack of strength.

Psalm in the Letter M – Melodie Davis

Surely his mysterious mercy shall follow me mindfully
all the measure of my marvelous life:
and I will mellow in the house of my Maker for millennia.

The Lord is My Provider – Phyllis Ramer

Your presence permeates my person.
Your parenting and protection provide for my well-being.
You prepare a party for me in the presence of my perpetrators.
You pour promises into my soul.

Psalm 23 in the Letter Q (with a bit of ‘K’) – Carole Sparks

The Quintessential One is my keeper; He quenches every quandary.
He quiets me in exquisite quadrants.
We quest beside quiescent waters.
He quickens my quiddity.
He quarterbacks me in qualities of His quintessence
for the sake of his kudos.

You construct a banquet before me
with a quorum of my enemies;
you quench my head with oil;
I quaff what cannot be quantified.

Psalm 23 in the Letter R – Rita Enns

Surely God’s riches and redeeming love
will take me through the rest of my life,
and I will rejoice when I reach my final destination.
What a reunion that will be!

Psalm 23 in the Letter S – Carole Sparks

The Sovereign is my shepherd,
I am sufficiently supplied.
He settles me in a supple country side,
He escorts me beside silent streams,
He strengthens my soul.


Writing/Reflection Prompt: What does it mean for the Lord to be your Shepherd? Even if you don’t work through the entire psalm, how would you paraphrase just the first verse of Psalm 23?

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8 thoughts on “I Can Be Brave for You are Behind Me, Before Me, Beside Me

  1. I love this exercise! You inspired me to write it in the letter “T.”

    Psalm 23, Letter T Translation

    The Teacher is my traveling companion,
    I trust that we are a team.
    He invites me to tarry on a tree-lined turf,
    he takes me on tranquil trails,
    he tends my true self.
    He tutors me in threads of trust
    for he is Truth itself.

    Even though tremendous terrors take me by the throat,
    I tremble not,
    for Thou art my tangible presence.
    Thy teachings triumph over my timidity.

    You treat me to taste of a top-tiered table,
    tempting those who would threaten and torment me.
    Your treasure is too much to tabulate,
    it tumbles out.

    Surely your tenderheartedness to me will make me ever thankful
    and transform me
    and I will trust in the touch of the Teacher
    till the end of time.

    1. I love this, Leslea! So many beautiful images – I trust that we are a team….though tremendous terrors take me by the throat, I tremble not….your tenderheartedness will make me ever thankful and transform me…. I’ll add your version to a future post once I gather a few more letters. Thanks for sharing.

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