Hear us, Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. (Psalm 80:1)
There are times when reading the psalms becomes an experience of call and response in prayer. Occasionally, one psalm raises a question or concern that another psalm seems to answer. This reminds us that the psalms become an even more powerful resource for us when we read and pray them in their entirety. Like a choirs responding to one another in worship, in prayer the psalms lift their distinct voices one after the other to form one beautiful melody to God.
Two psalms that interact in this way are Psalms 80 and 91. Psalm 80 begins with a deep cry for God to hear His people’s request for deliverance and restoration: “Hear us, Shepherd of Israel” (Psalm 80:1). The entire psalm expresses a heart-wrenching range of need in the face of difficulty. All of us can relate to that sort of prayer. We have all endured seasons of life or situations where the words the roll from our lips in prayer sound like this: “Restore us, O God” (80:3). At other times, we may relate to the agonizing expression: “How long, Lord God Almighty?” (80:4).
The intimacy of prayer conveyed in Psalm 80 reminds us that God hears us, whether in our praises or our requests. The God of the Bible is holy, powerful and involved in our world. Even more, He hears us in our distress. Rest in the reality that God hears you in prayer. Tomorrow, we’ll continue this theme by turning to Psalm 91 as we look at how God responds to us once He hears us.
Hear me, God, as I call to You,
and give attention to my cries.
As I pray that it seems presumptuous
to request the God of all the universe
to listen to a simple person like me,
Still, I know You do invite me to approach You
with the wild boldness of faith,
believing that You will hear me.
Thank You for Your tender mercy
and steadfast love toward me.
I know I do not deserve it,
but You listen anyway.