A Prayer for God's Continued Mercy
86 1 Bend an ear, God; answer me. I'm one miserable wretch! 2 Keep me safe - haven't I lived a good life? Help your servant - I'm depending on you! 3 You're my God; have mercy on me. I count on you from morning to night. 4 Give your servant a happy life; I put myself in your hands! 5 You're well-known as good and forgiving, bighearted to all who ask for help. 6 Pay attention, God, to my prayer; bend down and listen to my cry for help. 7 Every time I'm in trouble I call on you, confident that you'll answer.
8 There's no one quite like you among the gods, O Lord, and nothing to compare with your works. 9 All the nations you made are on their way, ready to give honor to you, O Lord, Ready to put your beauty on display, 10 parading your greatness, And the great things you do - God, you're the one, there's no one but you! 11 Train me, God, to walk straight; then I'll follow your true path. Put me together, one heart and mind; then, undivided, I'll worship in joyful fear. 12 From the bottom of my heart I thank you, dear Lord; I've never kept secret what you're up to. 13 You've always been great toward me - what love! You snatched me from the brink of disaster! 14 God, these bullies have reared their heads! A gang of thugs is after me - and they don't care a thing about you. 15 But you, O God, are both tender and kind, not easily angered, immense in love, and you never, never quit. 16 So look me in the eye and show kindness, give your servant the strength to go on, save your dear, dear child! 17 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.
The Privileges of Dwelling in Zion
4 I name them off, those among whom I'm famous: Egypt and Babylon, also Philistia, even Tyre, along with Cush. Word's getting around; they point them out: "This one was born again here!" 5 The word's getting out on Zion: "Men and women, right and left, get born again in her!" 6 God registers their names in his book: "This one, this one, and this one - born again, right here." 7 Singers and dancers give credit to Zion: "All my springs are in you!"
A Prayer for Deliverance from Death
88 1 God, you're my last chance of the day. I spend the night on my knees before you. 2 Put me on your salvation agenda; take notes on the trouble I'm in. 3 I've had my fill of trouble; I'm camped on the edge of hell. 4 I'm written off as a lost cause, one more statistic, a hopeless case. 5 Abandoned as already dead, one more body in a stack of corpses, And not so much as a gravestone - I'm a black hole in oblivion. 6 You've dropped me into a bottomless pit, sunk me in a pitch-black abyss. 7 I'm battered senseless by your rage, relentlessly pounded by your waves of anger. 8 You turned my friends against me, made me horrible to them. I'm caught in a maze and can't find my way out, 9 blinded by tears of pain and frustration. I call to you, God; all day I call. I wring my hands, I plead for help.
10 Are the dead a live audience for your miracles? Do ghosts ever join the choirs that praise you? 11 Does your love make any difference in a graveyard? Is your faithful presence noticed in the corridors of hell? 12 Are your marvelous wonders ever seen in the dark, your righteous ways noticed in the Land of No Memory? 13 I'm standing my ground, God, shouting for help, at my prayers every morning, on my knees each daybreak. 14 Why, God, do you turn a deaf ear? Why do you make yourself scarce? 15 For as long as I remember I've been hurting; I've taken the worst you can hand out, and I've had it. 16 Your wildfire anger has blazed through my life; I'm bleeding, black and blue. 17 You've attacked me fiercely from every side, raining down blows till I'm nearly dead. 18 You made lover and neighbor alike dump me; the only friend I have left is Darkness.
God's Covenant with David
89 1 Your love, God, is my song, and I'll sing it! I'm forever telling everyone how faithful you are. 2 I'll never quit telling the story of your love - how you built the cosmos and guaranteed everything in it. Your love has always been our lives' foundation, your fidelity has been the roof over our world. 3 You once said, "I joined forces with my chosen leader, I pledged my word to my servant, David, saying, 4 'Everyone descending from you is guaranteed life; I'll make your rule as solid and lasting as rock.'"
5 God! Let the cosmos praise your wonderful ways, the choir of holy angels sing anthems to your faithful ways! 6 Search high and low, scan skies and land, you'll find nothing and no one quite like God. 7 The holy angels are in awe before him; he looms immense and august over everyone around him. 8 God of the Angel Armies, who is like you, powerful and faithful from every angle? 9 You put the arrogant ocean in its place and calm its waves when they turn unruly. 10 You gave that old hag Egypt the back of your hand, you brushed off your enemies with a flick of your wrist. 11 You own the cosmos - you made everything in it, everything from atom to archangel. 12 You positioned the North and South Poles; the mountains Tabor and Hermon sing duets to you. 13 With your well-muscled arm and your grip of steel - nobody trifles with you! 14 The Right and Justice are the roots of your rule; Love and Truth are its fruits.
15 Blessed are the people who know the passwords of praise, who shout on parade in the bright presence of God. 16 Delighted, they dance all day long; they know who you are, what you do - they can't keep it quiet! 17 Your vibrant beauty has gotten inside us - you've been so good to us! We're walking on air! 18 All we are and have we owe to God, Holy God of Israel, our King!
19 A long time ago you spoke in a vision, you spoke to your faithful beloved: "I've crowned a hero, I chose the best I could find; 20 I found David, my servant, poured holy oil on his head, 21 And I'll keep my hand steadily on him, yes, I'll stick with him through thick and thin. 22 No enemy will get the best of him, no scoundrel will do him in. 23 I'll weed out all who oppose him, I'll clean out all who hate him. 24 I'm with him for good and I'll love him forever; I've set him on high - he's riding high! 25 I've put Ocean in his one hand, River in the other; 26 he'll call out, 'Oh, my Father - my God, my Rock of Salvation!' 27 Yes, I'm setting him apart as the First of the royal line, High King over all of earth's kings. 28 I'll preserve him eternally in my love, I'll faithfully do all I so solemnly promised. 29 I'll guarantee his family tree and underwrite his rule. 30 If his children refuse to do what I tell them, if they refuse to walk in the way I show them, 31 If they spit on the directions I give them and tear up the rules I post for them 32 - I'll rub their faces in the dirt of their rebellion and make them face the music. 33 But I'll never throw them out, never abandon or disown them. 34 Do you think I'd withdraw my holy promise? or take back words I'd already spoken? 35 I've given my word, my whole and holy word; do you think I would lie to David? 36 His family tree is here for good, his sovereignty as sure as the sun, 37 Dependable as the phases of the moon, inescapable as weather."
38 But God, you did walk off and leave us, you lost your temper with the one you anointed. 39 You tore up the promise you made to your servant, you stomped his crown in the mud. 40 You blasted his home to kingdom come, reduced his city to a pile of rubble 41 Picked clean by wayfaring strangers, a joke to all the neighbors. 42 You declared a holiday for all his enemies, and they're celebrating for all they're worth. 43 Angry, you opposed him in battle, refused to fight on his side; 44 You robbed him of his splendor, humiliated this warrior, ground his kingly honor in the dirt. 45 You took the best years of his life and left him an impotent, ruined husk. 46 How long do we put up with this, God? Are you gone for good? Will you hold this grudge forever? 47 Remember my sorrow and how short life is. Did you create men and women for nothing but this? 48 We'll see death soon enough. Everyone does. And there's no back door out of hell. 49 So where is the love you're so famous for, Lord? What happened to your promise to David? 50 Take a good look at your servant, dear Lord; I'm the butt of the jokes of all nations, 51 The taunting jokes of your enemies, God, as they dog the steps of your dear anointed. 52 Blessed be God forever and always! Yes. Oh, yes.