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Reading:                                       Psalm 86

A prayer of David.

Verses 1-7

Hear me, LORD, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,
for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
for I put my trust in you.

You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
abounding in love to all who call to you.
Hear my prayer, L
ORD;
listen to my cry for mercy.
When I am in distress, I call to you,
because you answer me
(NIV).

Reflection

What posture or position do you take when you pray? Do you kneel, stand or lie prostrate? Do you bow your head, or raise your head and look heavenward? Do you fold your hands or raise them to God?

cape breton 258

Cheticamp, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia — photo by David Kitz

The Bible describes people taking various positions or postures in prayer. We cannot be certain of the physical position that David took when he prayed the words of Psalm 86. But we can be sure of this. In his heart David assumed a position of humility. His opening statement reveals a man with a humble heart. Hear me, LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.

David spent about forty years as the King of Israel. Though his early years were a struggle for survival against the murderous schemes of King Saul, David’s later years were blessed by victory and prosperity. But here in this psalm David calls himself poor and needy. He exemplifies for us the first of Jesus’ Beatitudes. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

In God’s eyes we are always poor and needy. Though I may have billions of dollars, what is my piddling prosperity in the sight of the owner and Creator of the universe? Can that money buy me an hour in heaven? Can it buy me immortality? Of course it can’t. Despite his vast wealth, Steve Jobs was unable to buy a longer life. In the end, like King David, Jobs found he was helpless, poor and needy.

In light of this truth—in the light of eternity—let us come—poor beggars that we are to the mercy seat of God. There we can lay our burdens down. There we can humbly bring our petitions. There we can meet with Jesus.  For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect ( 1 Peter 1:18-19).

Response: LORD God, I confess I am poor and needy. My future, my whole life is in your hands. I do not own my next breath. When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me. Amen.

Your Turn: Pride and prayer don’t fit well together. What position do you take when you pray?