God’s Saving Word: Prayer
Psalm 141: Today’s reading opens with the psalm writer, with uplifted hands, asking God to receive his prayer “as incense.” Written in the wisdom tradition, today’s psalm includes a request to be kept from “wanting to do wrong” and concludes with a request for God’s protection from evildoers.
An Evening Prayer
141 I call to you, Lord; help me now!
Listen to me when I call to you.
2 Receive my prayer as incense,
my uplifted hands as an evening sacrifice.
3 Lord, place a guard at my mouth,
a sentry at the door of my lips.
4 Keep me from wanting to do wrong
and from joining evil people in their wickedness.
May I never take part in their feasts.
5 Good people may punish me and rebuke me in kindness,
but I will never accept honor from evil people,
because I am always praying against their evil deeds.
6 When their rulers are thrown down from rocky cliffs,
the people will admit that my words were true.
7 Like wood that is split and chopped into bits,
so their bones are scattered at the edge of the grave.
8 But I keep trusting in you, my Sovereign Lord.
I seek your protection;
don’t let me die!
9 Protect me from the traps they have set for me,
from the snares of those evildoers.
10 May the wicked fall into their own traps
while I go by unharmed.
Today’s Key Verse: Psalm 141:2
Receive my prayer as incense, my uplifted hands as an evening sacrifice.
In Exodus 30:1, Moses is instructed to build an altar for burning incense, and Aaron is told “to burn sweet-smelling incense on it” (Exodus 30:7). The smoke from the burning incense represented the prayers that went up to God. What are your thoughts about this image for prayer? What prayers will you lift up to God today?
Sovereign God, trusting in your love, mercy, and care, I lift up my prayers to you this day, asking for your help and guidance in all I do and say. Place a sentry at the door of my lips and keep me from wanting to do wrong. All this I ask in your holy and precious name. Amen.
Psalm 142: A prayer for release from distress.