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  • Writer's pictureBetty Dodge

Call Upon the LORD (Psalm 86:5-7)

For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. 6 Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. 7 In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me. —Psalm 86:5-7

The book of Psalms is a collection of poetry, songs, and prayers of the Jewish people. In the songs, you will often find repetition of phrases of worship and praise, and descriptions of God’s glorious attributes, often using figures of speech. But Psalm 86 is a prayer, and the language is plain “…how little there is in it of poetic flights or figures in comparison to other psalms; for the flourishes of wit are not the proper ornaments of prayer.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary)

This prayer of David is earnest, straightforward, with repeated pleas to God: Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me (v. 1a, v. 6); I am poor and needy (v. 1b); preserve my life, save your servant who trusts in you (v. 2); be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you I cry all the day (v. 3, v. 16); gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul (v. 4)—

For you, O LORD, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. (v. 5)

Who else would David turn to in his time of need? Only the Lord. He alone has always been with us, gracious, good, forgiving sin, keeping covenant in His abundant love to the one who is poor in spirit. David knows the Lord. He has experienced His grace and here declares that He is good and forgiving. You can hear David’s humility in these words. He is trusting in God’s grace to be heard, just as we trust in Christ’s blood shed for us that we might come before the throne of grace. David has come to receive grace and deliverance from his enemies. He is not going anywhere else but to the Lord with his request—“Give ear…listen to my plea…I call upon you.” He is not seeking help from any other source. And he trusts the Lord’s listening, attentive ear, assured by His covenant love and promises that his prayer is heard and he will receive what is best from the Lord’s hand.

What about you? When faced with trials, where do you turn? Someone once said, “Before you go to the phone, come to the Throne.” We must each grow in our dependence upon the Lord and keep Him first in our hearts and minds—at all times praying to Him about everything.


For Reflection

  1. Are you poor and needy? Yes? Remember the words of Jesus, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Take every need and confess every sin to your heavenly Father in prayer. Those who trust in Him have His ear and His favor.

  2. When you pray, are you plainly making your request to God, or do your drifting thoughts or many words cause you to lose focus and fervency? How might adopting the example of David’s prayer help you to pray effectually?

  3. Trust in God’s character and attributes—His faithfulness, goodness, love and forgiveness towards us, and His grace that gladdens our souls, all shine bright in Psalm 86. Describe the role that prayer has in fueling your trust and joy in God’s character.


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