An Evening Prayer of Trust in God

41 Give answer to my cry, O God of my righteousness; make me free from my troubles; have mercy on me, and give ear to my prayer. 2 O you sons of men, how long will you go on turning my glory into shame? how long will you give your love to foolish things, going after what is false? (Selah.) 3 See how the Lord has made great his mercy for me; the Lord will give ear to my cry. 4 Let there be fear in your hearts, and do no sin; have bitter feelings on your bed, but make no sound. (Selah.) 5 Give the offerings of righteousness, and put your faith in the Lord.

6 There are numbers who say, Who will do us any good? the light of his face has gone from us. 7 Lord, you have put joy in my heart, more than they have when their grain and their wine are increased. 8 I will take my rest on my bed in peace, because you only, Lord, keep me safe.

A Prayer for Protection

51 Give ear to my words, O Lord; give thought to my heart-searchings. 2 Let the voice of my cry come to you, my King and my God; for to you will I make my prayer. 3 My voice will come to you in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I send my prayer to you, and keep watch. 4 For you are not a God who takes pleasure in wrongdoing; there is no evil with you. 5 The sons of pride have no place before you; you are a hater of all workers of evil. 6 You will send destruction on those whose words are false; the cruel man and the man of deceit are hated by the Lord.

7 But as for me, I will come into your house, in the full measure of your mercy; and in your fear I will give worship, turning my eyes to your holy Temple. 8 Be my guide, O Lord, in the ways of your righteousness, because of those who are against me; make your way straight before my face. 9 For no faith may be put in their words; their inner part is nothing but evil; their throat is like an open place for the dead; smooth are the words of their tongues. 10 Send them to destruction, O Lord; let their evil designs be the cause of their fall; let them be forced out by all their sins; because they have gone against your authority. 11 But let all those who put their faith in you be glad with cries of joy at all times, and let all the lovers of your name be glad in you. 12 For you, Lord, will send a blessing on the upright man; your grace will be round him, and you will be his strength.

A Prayer for Mercy in Time of Trouble

61 O Lord, do not be bitter with me in your wrath; do not send punishment on me in the heat of your passion. 2 Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am wasted away: make me well, for even my bones are troubled. 3 My soul is in bitter trouble; and you, O Lord, how long? 4 Come back, O Lord, make my soul free; O give me salvation because of your mercy. 5 For in death there is no memory of you; in the underworld who will give you praise? 6 The voice of my sorrow is a weariness to me; all the night I make my bed wet with weeping; it is watered by the drops flowing from my eyes. 7 My eyes are wasting away with trouble; they are becoming old because of all those who are against me.

8 Go from me, all you workers of evil; for the Lord has given ear to the voice of my weeping. 9 The Lord has given ear to my request; the Lord has let my prayer come before him. 10 Let all those who are against me be shamed and deeply troubled; let them be turned back and suddenly put to shame.

Paul at Athens

16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was troubled, for he saw all the town full of images of the gods. 17 So he had discussions in the Synagogue with the Jews and God-fearing Gentiles, and every day in the market-place with those who were there. 18 And some of those who were supporters of the theories of the Epicureans and the Stoics, had a meeting with him. And some said, What is this talker of foolish words saying? And others, He seems to be a preacher of strange gods: because he was preaching of Jesus and his coming back from the dead. 19 And they took him to Mars' Hill, saying, Will you make clear to us what is this new teaching of yours? 20 For you seem to us to say strange things, and we have a desire to get the sense of them. 21 (Now all the Athenians and the men from other lands who come there were giving all their time to talking or hearing of anything new.)

22 And Paul got to his feet on Mars' Hill and said, O men of Athens, I see that you are overmuch given to fear of the gods. 23 For when I came by, I was looking at the things to which you give worship, and I saw an altar with this writing on it, TO THE GOD OF WHOM THERE IS NO KNOWLEDGE. Now, what you, without knowledge, give worship to, I make clear to you. 24 The God who made the earth and everything in it, he, being Lord of heaven and earth, is not housed in buildings made with hands; 25 And he is not dependent on the work of men's hands, as if he had need of anything, for he himself gives to all life and breath and all things; 26 And he has made of one blood all the nations of men living on all the face of the earth, ordering their times and the limits of their lands, 27 So that they might make search for God, in order, if possible, to get knowledge of him and make discovery of him, though he is not far from every one of us: 28 For in him we have life and motion and existence; as certain of your verse writers have said, For we are his offspring. 29 If then we are the offspring of God, it is not right for us to have the idea that God is like gold or silver or stone, formed by the art or design of man. 30 Those times when men had no knowledge were overlooked by God; but now he gives orders to all men in every place to undergo a change of heart: 31 Because a day has been fixed in which all the world will be judged in righteousness by the man who has been marked out by him for this work; of which he has given a sign to all men by giving him back from the dead.

32 Now on hearing about the coming back from death, some of them made sport of it, but others said, Let us go more fully into this another time. 33 And so Paul went away from among them. 34 But some men gave him their support: among whom was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

Matthew Henry's Commentary on Acts 17:16-34

Commentary on Acts 17:16-21

(Read Acts 17:16-21)

Athens was then famed for polite learning, philosophy, and the fine arts; but none are more childish and superstitious, more impious, or more credulous, than some persons, deemed eminent for learning and ability. It was wholly given to idolatry. The zealous advocate for the cause of Christ will be ready to plead for it in all companies, as occasion offers. Most of these learned men took no notice of Paul; but some, whose principles were the most directly contrary to Christianity, made remarks upon him. The apostle ever dwelt upon two points, which are indeed the principal doctrines of Christianity, Christ and a future state; Christ our way, and heaven our end. They looked on this as very different from the knowledge for many ages taught and professed at Athens; they desire to know more of it, but only because it was new and strange. They led him to the place where judges sat who inquired into such matters. They asked about Paul's doctrine, not because it was good, but because it was new. Great talkers are always busy-bodies. They spend their time in nothing else, and a very uncomfortable account they have to give of their time who thus spend it. Time is precious, and we are concerned to employ it well, because eternity depends upon it, but much is wasted in unprofitable conversation.

Commentary on Acts 17:22-31

(Read Acts 17:22-31)

Here we have a sermon to heathens, who worshipped false gods, and were without the true God in the world; and to them the scope of the discourse was different from what the apostle preached to the Jews. In the latter case, his business was to lead his hearers by prophecies and miracles to the knowledge of the Redeemer, and faith in him; in the former, it was to lead them, by the common works of providence, to know the Creator, and worship Him. The apostle spoke of an altar he had seen, with the inscription, "TO THE UNKNOWN GOD." This fact is stated by many writers. After multiplying their idols to the utmost, some at Athens thought there was another god of whom they had no knowledge. And are there not many now called Christians, who are zealous in their devotions, yet the great object of their worship is to them an unknown God? Observe what glorious things Paul here says of that God whom he served, and would have them to serve. The Lord had long borne with idolatry, but the times of this ignorance were now ending, and by his servants he now commanded all men every where to repent of their idolatry. Each sect of the learned men would feel themselves powerfully affected by the apostle's discourse, which tended to show the emptiness or falsity of their doctrines.

Commentary on Acts 17:32-34

(Read Acts 17:32-34)

The apostle was treated with more outward civility at Athens than in some other places; but none more despised his doctrine, or treated it with more indifference. Of all subjects, that which deserves the most attention gains the least. But those who scorn, will have to bear the consequences, and the word will never be useless. Some will be found, who cleave to the Lord, and listen to his faithful servants. Considering the judgement to come, and Christ as our Judge, should urge all to repent of sin, and turn to Him. Whatever matter is used, all discourses must lead to Him, and show his authority; our salvation, and resurrection, come from and by Him.