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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 86:1–10, 16–17           

Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me,
   for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am devoted to you;
   save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; be gracious to me, O Lord,
   for to you do I cry all day long.
Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
   abounding in steadfast love to all who call on you.
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
   listen to my cry of supplication.
In the day of my trouble I call on you,
   for you will answer me.

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
   nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come
   and bow down before you, O Lord,
   and shall glorify your name.
For you are great and do wondrous things;
   you alone are God.

Turn to me and be gracious to me;
   give your strength to your servant;
   save the child of your serving girl.
Show me a sign of your favor,
   so that those who hate me may see it and be put to shame,
   because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me. (NRSV)

“Gently and powerfully put me back on my feet.”

I especially like that phrasing in Eugene Peterson’s translation of David’s prayer to God in this psalm. David conveys a very dynamic and involved relationship with his God and three things are evident. 

David is very honest with God about how vulnerable and needy he is:

    “I’m one miserable wretch”
    “I’m depending on you”
    “I count on you from morning to night”
    “I put myself in your hands”
    “Every time I’m in trouble I call on you”

David has incredible confidence in his God’s capabilities:

    “You’re well known as good and forgiving”
    “Big hearted to all who ask for help”
    “There’s no one quite like you among the gods”
    “God, you’re the one, there’s no one but you”

David makes very direct and specific requests of God:

    “Bend an ear”
    “Answer me”
    “Help your servant”
    “Have mercy on me”
    “Give your servant a happy life”
    “Pay attention to my prayer”
    “Bend down and listen to my cry”
    “Look me in the eye and show kindness”
    “Give your servant the strength to go on”
    “Save your dear, dear child”

And my favorite: “Make a show of how much you love me so the bullies who hate me will stand there slack-jawed, as you, God, gently and powerfully put me back on my feet.”

I want my relationship with God to be more like David’s. I’m going to bring more of my vulnerabilities to my prayer life. I’m going to acknowledge God’s greatness and capabilities, and I’m going to more specifically and boldly ask God for what I need. I invite you to join me.

Dear God, we need your help more than ever. You are good, forgiving, big–hearted, and there is no one quite like you. When we are down please show us kindness, give us strength, and gently and powerfully put us back on our feet. Thank you. Amen.

Written by Tom Schemper, Director,
Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being

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