Praise Habit: Psalm 88

Lord, God of my salvation,
when, at night, I cry out in your presence,
let my prayer come before you;
incline your ear to my cry.

For my soul is full of troubles,
and my life draws near to Sheol.
I am counted among those who go down to the Pit;
I am like those who have no help,
like those forsaken among the dead,
like the slain that lie in the grave,
like those whom you remember no more,
for they are cut off from your hand.
You have put me in the depths of the Pit,
in the regions dark and deep.
Your wrath lies heavy upon me,
and you overwhelm me with all your waves.
Selah


You have caused my companions to shun me;
you have made me a thing of horror to them.
I am shut in so that I cannot escape;
   my eye grows dim through sorrow.
Every day I call on you, O Lord;
I spread out my hands to you.
Do you work wonders for the dead?
Do the shades rise up to praise you?
Selah


Is your steadfast love declared in the grave,
or your faithfulness in Abaddon?
Are your wonders known in the darkness,
or your saving help in the land of forgetfulness?


But I, O Lord, cry out to you;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
Lord, why do you cast me off?
Why do you hide your face from me?
Wretched and close to death from my youth up,
I suffer your terrors; I am desperate.
Your wrath has swept over me;
your dread assaults destroy me.
They surround me like a flood all day long;
from all sides they close in on me.
You have caused friend and neighbor to shun me;
my companions are in darkness.

Psalm 88 (NRSV)

I want Yahweh to hear me. I think we all do. I love the line, “incline your ear to my cry.” It’s like asking God to lend me His ear as I honestly pour out my heart.

Honesty isn’t always happy.There is no pretense found in this psalm; it is an honest, heart-pouring-out kind of song. Sometimes, the nights do seem too long to survive, and the air does seem too thick to breathe. And sometimes God’s anger seems to be so unbridled towards us that we feel death is close at hand. Even in the midst of such honest feelings, Yahweh remains the God of our salvation. He is the one we cry to to keep us alive.

I love that this prayer has been recorded for Scripture. It gives me the courage to be this honest with You, my Father. You already know my heart, my emotions, my fears, so why should I not ask for Your ear and speak honestly to You?

Keep me in the land of the living so I may know Your wondrous deeds, praise You, and raise my honest prayers and cries to You each morning.

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