Sovereign Lord, how truly magnificent you are! I praise you for your majesty, power, goodness, and grace.
Read PSALM 5
For the director of music. For pipes. A psalm of David.
1 Listen to my words, Lord,
consider my lament.
2 Hear my cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
3 In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly.
4 For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness;
with you, evil people are not welcome.
5 The arrogant cannot stand
in your presence.
You hate all who do wrong;
6 you destroy those who tell lies.
The bloodthirsty and deceitful
you, Lord, detest.
7 But I, by your great love,
can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
toward your holy temple.
8 Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness
because of my enemies—
make your way straight before me.
9 Not a word from their mouth can be trusted;
their heart is filled with malice.
Their throat is an open grave;
with their tongues they tell lies.
10 Declare them guilty, O God!
Let their intrigues be their downfall.
Banish them for their many sins,
for they have rebelled against you.
11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
12 Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield.
- Psalm 5:1 In Hebrew texts 5:1-12 is numbered 5:2-13.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘O Lord … who hast safely brought us to the beginning of this day: defend us in the same with thy mighty power … through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.’1
Directions for this psalm include background music by pipes. What a great way to start the day, praying to the accompaniment of soft worshipful music played on flutes or suchlike. It may have seemed counter-intuitive for David to do this at a time when his life was under threat and his enemies were spreading malicious lies about him but drawing near to God in the morning was his secret weapon. I find it hard, when the to-do list is long and I have spent the night worrying about the coming day, to rise and be still in prayer. David’s practice of laying his requests before God and then waiting expectantly before him, is a real challenge. What was he waiting for? He clearly expected an answer. Do we?
The concept of waiting before God in quiet expectation is not unique to this psalm. It occurs again in the songs of ascent, where busy pilgrims pause on their journey to fulfill their morning watch before the Lord, despite a deep sense of unworthiness.2 The prophet Habakkuk pictures himself doing so even when on guard duty, facing the threat of possible enemy attack.3
Prayer should never be a duty, but rather a rendezvous with a lover. Like a spy using a dead drop in enemy territory, we can come into the secret place and lay our letter down, setting out the enemy’s disposition, and pick up a love letter from home. Perhaps we need to reintroduce an element of romance and intimacy into our times of prayer. We need to hear the call of the lover through the lattice once again and respond to the invitation, ‘Arise … my beautiful one, come with me.’4
‘Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty! Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.’5 Bring your concerns to God now and lay them before him, waiting expectantly.
All-powerful Lord, I ask for your protection against the forces that seek to destroy me spiritually. Keep me safe I pray.
1 Book of Common Prayer, Third Collect for Morning Prayer 2 Ps 130:5,6 3 Hab 2:1 4 Song 2:8–13 5 Reginald Heber, 1783–1826
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