As you pray, thank God for his Word and for the Bibles that you have in your church and home.
Read Psalm 17:1-15
A prayer of David. Hear me, LORD, my plea is just; listen to my cry. Hear my prayer- it does not rise from deceitful lips.  Let my vindication come from you; may your eyes see what is right.  Though you probe my heart, though you examine me at night and test me, you will find that I have planned no evil; my mouth has not transgressed.  Though people tried to bribe me, I have kept myself from the ways of the violent through what your lips have commanded.  My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not stumbled.  I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.  Show me the wonders of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes.  Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings  from the wicked who are out to destroy me, from my mortal enemies who surround me.  They close up their callous hearts, and their mouths speak with arrogance.  They have tracked me down, they now surround me, with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground.  They are like a lion hungry for prey, like a fierce lion crouching in cover.  Rise up, LORD, confront them, bring them down; with your sword rescue me from the wicked.  By your hand save me from such people, LORD, from those of this world whose reward is in this life. May what you have stored up for the wicked fill their bellies; may their children gorge themselves on it, and may there be leftovers for their little ones.  As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectHow does the psalmist deal with his trouble?
As I read this beautiful song, I imagine scenes from David’s life when he is being persecuted by Saul (e.g. 1 Samuel 24), or a flash forward to Jesus, on trial before Pilate. I could focus on David’s powerful images (8,12) or on the face of this man as he pleads with God. Many Christians today are persecuted for their faith and would have no difficulty in sympathizing with the words of David’s song. Some are in prison, like a house church leader in one country who is serving a 15-year prison sentence. Some have experienced violence, like two men in Ethiopia who continue to live alongside their attackers. Some have died. All are ordinary Christians like you and me, but they get arrested for going to church, for studying the Bible or for telling others about Jesus. In 2006 the Poverty and Justice Bible was published, highlighting all the verses relating to poverty. There are so many–how did we miss them before? I often think that if someone were to produce the Persecution Bible, we would be similarly shocked. As we read this psalm, let’s pray for our brothers and sisters who’ve held to God’s paths in the face of violence from others.
Use your library or the internet to find out more about persecuted Christians today. Resolve to pray for them faithfully.
Lord, I do pray for brothers and sisters suffering for Your name. May they know Your presence, care and strength.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.