I read Psalm 3 the other day, and it reminded me of so many youth (and adults) I have encountered in urban centers in our country:


O Lord, how many are my foes!  How many rise up against me!  Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.”
No one thinks I’ll amount to anything.  Low expectations are my enemy, taunting me with promises of failure and defeat.  No one thinks I can escape this cycle of poverty.  No one thinks I can overcome.

But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.
But you protect me from believing their predictions of my life.  You guard my dignity, though others want to ignore and discount me.

To the Lord I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill.
You alone know my fears.  You alone know my dreams.  You alone listen to me with patience and mercy, as I tell you my story.

I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
Not one of my moments has escaped your notice.  In the midst of everyday violence, it is no accident that I still have breath.

I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side.
Though statistics mount against me, I know that a mustard seed moves a mountain in your economy. 

Arise, O Lord!  Deliver me, O my God!  Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.
May their prophecies of my life be found false.  May their ignorant reproach of my heritage be silenced.  Show yourself mighty on behalf of those of us without an advocate.

From the Lord comes deliverance.
No program, no person, no policy is sufficient to deliver me fully from bondage.  You alone are my Savior. 

May your blessing be on your people.
There is none like you, for you have welcomed me with open arms.  What joy is mine, that you delight to call me your own.