Prayer and Praise
A stream of continuous prayer flows through this Psalm. Praise is sweetly intermixed. Pleas for audience are urgently enforced. May we thus pray, and verily we shall be heard.
1. “Bow down Thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy.”
The cry is the breathing of humility. To seek help from our own poverty is to draw water from an empty cistern. Let us fly to God’s fullness; it ever overflows.
2. “Preserve my soul; for I am holy: O Thou my God, save Thy servant that trusteth in Thee.”
Enemies are always near: God only can keep and save. Let us urge the plea, We are Thine by entire surrender of ourselves. All our confidence rests on Thee.
3, 4. “Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto Thee daily. Rejoice the soul of Thy servant: for unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.”
Mercy is our hourly need: for mercy let our hourly cry ascend. We shall hear joy and gladness, if on Him only our eyes are fixed.
5. “For Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Thee.”
When we thus call upon our God, we only ask for the display of His own heart. Goodness and mercy, grace and love there dwell. O God, give them scope. Let them come forth to help.
6, 7. “Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon Thee: for Thou wilt answer me.”
The cry continues, I cannot let Thee rest. I must take heaven by storm. Awake, awake in my behalf. Troubles abound. But they bear me on their tide to Thee. I come in full assurance that Thy promises shall never fail, and faithful prayer shall never be cast out.
8, 9, 10. “Among the gods there is none like unto Thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto Thy works. All nations whom Thou hast made shall come and worship before Thee, O Lord; and shall glorify Thy name. For Thou art great, and doest wondrous things: Thou art God alone.”
Precious is the season when the eye of faith contemplates the greatness—the majesty—the glory of our God. In heaven and throughout earth He sits supreme, worthy of all praise—all homage—all adoring love! In every clime enlightened servants now bow down to worship Him. The day will come when His knowledge shall cover the earth, even as the waters cover the sea. Then every knee shall bow before Him and every tongue shall magnify His name. O Lord, hasten the blessed time!
11. “Teach me Thy way, O LORD; I will walk in Thy truth: unite my heart to fear Thy name.”
How quickly the believer flies back to prayer. Here is his solace and his heart’s home. His grand desire is, that the Lord would instruct him in the path of life. He has no greater desire than to walk in God’s truth. He feels that his heart is prone in all its parts to wander. In itself it has neither cohesion nor stability. He prays that God would so restrain it by His bands, that no part should ever deviate from His fear.
12, 13. “I will praise Thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify Thy name for evermore. For great is Thy mercy toward me: and Thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.”
He vows that eternal praise shall issue from his comforted heart. Such glory is indeed God’s due. For through redeeming blood He has rescued from perdition’s lowest depths.
14, 15. “O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set Thee before them. But Thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.”
In contrast to this mercy the Psalmist sees the enmity of man. But he takes refuge in his God. His compassions never fail; His grace abides for ever; His long-suffering is inexhaustible; His mercy and truth are overflowing.
16, 17. “O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give Thy strength unto Thy servant, and save the son of Thine handmaid. Show me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because Thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me.”
This view of God prompts the prayer, that He would arise and strengthen and save: and give such tokens of His loving-kindness, that all observers may perceive that believers are the blessed men receiving help from heaven, and rejoicing in the Spirit’s comforts. When such manifestations abound they cannot be hidden. Shame depresses the cruel adversaries. They are constrained to confess, that vain is their enmity when God extends His hand to work deliverance. May we be monuments of such help!”
-From Henry Law’s Daily Prayer and Praise (1797-1884)