Thursday, May 06, 2010

Make haste to help me

Psalm 70 
1Be pleased, O God, to deliver me; *
O LORD, make haste to help me.
2Let those who seek my life be ashamed
and altogether dismayed; *
let those who take pleasure in my misfortune
draw back and be disgraced.
3Let those who say to me "Aha!" and gloat over me turn back, *
because they are ashamed.
4Let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; *
let those who love your salvation say for ever,
"Great is the LORD!"
5But as for me, I am poor and needy; *
come to me speedily, O God.
6You are my helper and my deliverer; *
O LORD, do not tarry.

I remember Thomas Merton once saying in one of his lectures that real prayer is when you are hanging by a strand of hair over an abyss, and I remember someone saying that real prayer could just be crying out "help" to God.  In psalm 70, from today's Daily Office (the daily Morning Prayer), we are given a glimpse of this kind of prayer.  The words are spoken from a place of great danger, of great need.  Three times in the prayer God is asked to come with "haste," "speedily" and "do not tarry."  In the midst of our own need and poverty we cry out to God, asking God to bring the real sense of Grace and Peace in times that feel neither grace-filled nor peaceful.  God is asked to find pleasure in helping us, "be pleased to deliver me," and God is asked to stand between us and our troubles.  Of course, God is already there, God is already in the midst of all our trouble, and in many ways our prayers are as much prayers for us to sense God's presence, to feel God's love, and to experience God's grace in our lives - especially in these times of need and poverty.

We all have been there.  We all have been in the midst of the muck and the gloom.  If you find yourself in this kind of place, may God shine upon you and may you feel his grace and presence!

You are my helper and deliverer, do not tarry, O my Lord!

May God make haste to help us and may we have eyes and ears and hearts to feel it,

~The Rev. Peter M. Carey

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