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(A prayer by David.)

A Prayer for Help

86 Please listen, Lord,
and answer my prayer!
    I am poor and helpless.
Protect me and save me
    because you are my God.
    I am your faithful servant,
    and I trust you.
Be kind to me!
    I pray to you all day.
Make my heart glad!
    I serve you,
    and my prayer is sincere.
You willingly forgive,
and your love is always there
    for those who pray to you.
Please listen, Lord!
    Answer my prayer for help.
When I am in trouble, I pray,
    knowing you will listen.

No other gods are like you;
    only you work miracles.
You created each nation,
and they will all bow down
    to worship and honor you.
10 You perform great wonders
    because you alone are God.

11 Teach me to follow you,
and I will obey your truth.
    Always keep me faithful.
12 With all my heart I thank you.
    I praise you, Lord God.
13 Your love for me is so great
    that you protected me
    from death and the grave.

14 Proud and violent enemies,
    who don’t care about you,
    have ganged up to attack
    and kill me.
15 But you, the Lord God,
    are kind and merciful.
You don’t easily get angry,
    and your love
    can always be trusted.
16 I serve you, Lord,
    and I am the child
    of one of your servants.
Look on me with kindness.
    Make me strong and save me.
17 Show that you approve of me!
Then my hateful enemies
    will feel like fools,
    because you have helped
    and comforted me.

(A psalm and a song by the people of Korah.)

The Glory of Mount Zion

87 Zion was built by the Lord
    on the holy mountain,
and he loves that city
    more than any other place
    in all of Israel.
Zion, you are the city of God,
    and wonderful things
    are told about you.

Egypt,[a] Babylonia, Philistia,
    Phoenicia,[b] and Ethiopia[c]
are some of those nations
    that know you,
    and their people all say,
    “I was born in Zion.”

God Most High will strengthen
    the city of Zion.
    Then everyone will say,
    “We were born here too.”
The Lord will make a list
    of his people,
    and all who were born here
    will be included.

All who sing or dance will say,
    “I too am from Zion.”

(A song and a psalm by the people of Korah for the music leader. To the tune “Mahalath Leannoth.”[d] A special psalm by Heman the Ezrahite.)

A Prayer When You Can’t Find the Way

88 You keep me safe, Lord God.
So when I pray at night,
    please listen carefully
    to each of my concerns.

I am deeply troubled
    and close to death;
    I am as good as dead
    and completely helpless.
I am no better off
    than those in the grave,
    those you have forgotten
    and no longer help.

You have put me in the deepest
    and darkest grave;
    your anger rolls over me
    like ocean waves.
You have made my friends turn
    in horror from me.
I am a prisoner
    who cannot escape,
    and I am almost blind
    because of my sorrow.

Each day I lift my hands
    in prayer to you, Lord.
10     Do you work miracles
    for the dead?
Do they stand up
    and praise you?
11 Are your love and loyalty
announced
    in the world
    of the dead?
12 Do they know of your miracles
    or your saving power
in the dark world below
    where all is forgotten?

13 Each morning I pray
    to you, Lord.
14     Why do you reject me?
    Why do you turn from me?
15 Ever since I was a child,
I have been sick
    and close to death.
    You have terrified me
    and made me helpless.[e]

16 Your anger is like a flood!
And I am shattered
    by your furious attacks
17     that strike each day
    and from every side.
18 My friends and neighbors
have turned against me
    because of you,
    and now darkness
    is my only companion.

(A special psalm by Ethan the Ezrahite.)

The Lord’s Agreement with David

89 Our Lord, I will sing
    of your love forever.
Everyone yet to be born
    will hear me praise
    your faithfulness.
I will tell them,
“God’s love
    can always be trusted,
    and his faithfulness lasts
    as long as the heavens.”

You said, “David, my servant,
    is my chosen one,
    and this is the agreement
    I made with him:
David, one of your descendants
    will always be king.”

Our Lord, let the heavens
    now praise your miracles,
    and let all of your angels
    praise your faithfulness.

None who live in the heavens
    can compare with you.
You are the most fearsome
    of all who live in heaven;
    all the others fear
    and greatly honor you.
You are Lord God All-Powerful!
    No one is as loving
    and faithful as you are.
You rule the roaring sea
    and calm its waves.
10 You crushed the monster Rahab,[f]
and with your powerful arm
    you scattered your enemies.
11 The heavens and the earth
    belong to you.
And so does the world
    with all its people
    because you created them
12     and everything else.[g]

Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon
    gladly praise you.
13     You are strong and mighty!
14 Your kingdom is ruled
    by justice and fairness
    with love and faithfulness
    leading the way.

15 Our Lord, you bless those
    who join in the festival
    and walk in the brightness
    of your presence.
16 We are happy all day
    because of you,
    and your saving power
    brings honor to us.
17 Your own glorious power
    makes us strong,
    and because of your kindness,
    our strength increases.
18 Our Lord and our King,
the Holy One of Israel,
    you are truly our shield.

19 In a vision, you once said
    to your faithful followers:
“I have helped a mighty hero.
    I chose him from my people
    and made him famous.
20 David, my servant, is the one
    I chose to be king,
21     and I will always be there
    to help and strengthen him.

22 “No enemy will outsmart David,
    and he won’t be defeated
    by any hateful people.
23 I will strike down and crush
    his troublesome enemies.
24 He will always be able
    to depend on my love,
    and I will make him strong
    with my own power.
25 I will let him rule the lands
    across the rivers and seas.
26 He will say to me,
‘You are my Father
    and my God,
    as well as the mighty rock[h]
    where I am safe.'

27 “I have chosen David
    as my first-born son,
    and he will be the ruler
    of all kings on earth.
28 My love for him will last,
    and my agreement with him
    will never be broken.

29 “One of David’s descendants
    will always be king,
    and his family will rule
    until the sky disappears.
30 Suppose some of his children
should reject my Law
    and refuse my instructions.
31 Or suppose they should disobey
    all of my teachings.
32 Then I will correct
and punish them
    because of their sins.
33 But I will always love David
    and faithfully keep all
    of my promises to him.

34 “I won’t break my agreement
    or go back on my word.
35 I have sworn once and for all
by my own holy name,
    and I won’t lie to David.
36 His family will always rule.
    I will let his kingdom last
    as long as the sun 37 and moon
    appear in the sky.”

38 You are now angry, God,
    and you have turned your back
    on your chosen king.
39 You broke off your agreement
    with your servant, the king,
    and you completely destroyed
    his kingdom.
40 The walls of his city
    have been broken through,
    and every fortress
    now lies in ruin.
41 All who pass by
    take what they want,
    and nations everywhere
    joke about the king.

42 You made his enemies powerful
    and let them celebrate.
43 But you forced him to retreat
    because you did not fight
    on his side.
44 You took his crown[i]
and threw his throne
    in the dirt.
45     You made an old man of him
    and put him to shame.

46 How much longer, Lord?
    Will you hide forever?
How long will your anger
    keep burning like fire?
47     Remember, life is short![j]
Why did you empty our lives
    of all meaning?
48     No one can escape the power
    of death and the grave.

49 Our Lord, where is the love
    you have always shown
    and that you promised
    so faithfully to David?
50 Remember your servant, Lord!
    People make jokes about me,
    and I suffer many insults.
51 I am your chosen one,
    but your enemies chase
    and make fun of me.

52 Our Lord, we praise you
    forever. Amen and amen.

Footnotes

  1. 87.4 Egypt: The Hebrew text has “Rahab,” the name of a monster that stands for Egypt (see Isaiah 30.7).
  2. 87.4 Phoenicia: See the note at 83.7.
  3. 87.4 Ethiopia: See the note at 68.31.
  4. Psalm 88 To. . . Leannoth: Or “For the flutes,” one possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  5. 88.15 and made me helpless: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  6. 89.10 Rahab: Many people in the ancient world thought that the world was controlled by this sea monster that the Lord destroyed at the time of creation (see Isaiah 51.9).
  7. 89.12 and everything else: The Hebrew text has “Zaphon and Yamin,” which may either be the names of mountains or refer to the directions “north and south,” with the meaning “everything from north to south.”
  8. 89.26 mighty rock: See the note at 18.2.
  9. 89.44 You took. . . crown: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  10. 89.47 Remember. . . short: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.