Psalms for Prayer: Day 9

A Prayer for Mercy

by

Today's Text: Psalm 6:1-10

Scripture Reading: Psalm 6:1-10

When I was a high school senior, I audited an upper-level English literature course at a local college. The professor assigned two novels, both of which were written in 18th-century English, and extremely hard for this 18-year-old to decipher. Luckily, the professor explained each reading at length, and though much of that course has disappeared from my memory, I’ll never forget a quote from George Eliot’s Middlemarch. For some reason, it implanted itself in my mind, and I doubt it will ever leave. It reads:

“If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.”

What I take from that quote is this: If we could hear “all ordinary human life” it would be deafening. Can you imagine hearing everything? From the simple growth of the grass all around us, to the cries of children in the night from hunger, to the millions upon millions of groans that go up to the Lord each moment? I cannot fathom the sound.

That’s why, when it comes to Psalm 6, I know I’m on holy ground.

I don’t know for certain what left David so shaken that he wore himself out with groaning—although, there are plenty of scenarios to choose from in 1 and 2 Samuel. His best friend’s father was trying to kill him. He had to hide away in enemy territory for decades. The only men who went with him were desperate, indebted criminals (1 Samuel 22:2). In many ways, he was alone in the world.

I don’t know exactly why David wrote this psalm, and I don’t know how you’ll relate to it, either. Perhaps the imagery of crying nightly against your pillow is no imagery at all. Perhaps that’s your reality. Marriages falter under the weight of years of sorrow. Children defy our expectations and hopes. Relationships plunder our hearts, leaving us to clean up the wreckage. Even the best, most hopeful times of our lives, leave us wondering what lurks around the next corner.

If your eyes are open, if your heart is beating, you know that life is full of perpetual ache. Like George Eliot said, if we could hear it all, “we should die of that roar.” But here is the beautiful thing about our God: He hears every single prayer. He catches our tears in His bottle (Psalm 56:8). And though we are unable to bear the weight of that much sorrow, He can. And He has (Isaiah 53:3-4).

After reading the seven preceding verses about grief, I love the final three in this psalm, how the idea of hope emerges from them. I can imagine David writing them, taking a deep, post-cry breath—you know the kind. Maybe it’s still shaky. But it fills your lungs with oxygen and enables you to sit up straight and wipe the tears from your eyes. David rises to face his fears, not because his circumstances have changed, but because he is confident that the Lord has heard his weeping, and accepts his prayer (Psalm 6:9).

Whatever tears you are shedding today, rest in confidence that the Lord hears you clearly. He knows you, accepts you in Christ, wants to commune with you, and longs to be gracious to you, even in the darkest hours (Isaiah 30:18).

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Claire Gibson is a writer whose work has been featured in publications including The Washington Post and Entrepreneur Magazine among many others. An Army kid who grew up at West Point, New York, Claire is currently growing roots in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, Patrick, their son, Sam, and their dog, Winnie. Her debut novel, Beyond the Point, will be published next year.

  • Abbigail Clark

    In this season I’m am learning how it is easy to be very surface level in my reading. I pray that after hearing the desperation in this scripture that I can seek that passion in my day to day journey with the Lord. It’s rather challenging sometimes for me to really connect with what I’m reading, when it seems far off or distant from where I am at… Today I have realized that in order for me to leave these devotions feeling refreshed and renewed, I need to make an effort to connect with it – I need to reread until it is confirmed in my spirit. I’m praying I can become less shallow with scripture that I have a hard time connecting with.

    • Mandy Peterson

      I relate to this on so many levels. Thank you for sharing. Praying we both can connect with Scripture during our devotions.

      • Alicia D

        I know this comment is late but I’ve been in both of your shoes before, feeling discouraged that it was so hard to connect to scripture sometimes. I STRONGLY recommend the book The Divine Mentor. It transformed the way I view and read the words and stories in the bible! Highly recommend!

  • Holiday Hutchinson

    I so desperately needed these words. I’ve literally been crying into my pillow since last night. It’s easy to forget, when crying out to God, that He really does hear you. I need a lot of comfort right now. And I’m grateful to be reminded that God provides that.

  • Jocelyn Abrahamson

    Wow. This made me emotional. I always tend to think in my times of sorrow and grief that I am alone, but to think that I have such a loving God who hears all of my cries, along with all the others in the human world, is heavy and humbling. What a wonderful Father we have. Praise God forever.

  • What a great reminder for today! God hears our prayers! I especially loved Psalm 56:8, God puts our tears in a bottle. He knows what every tear was for and has heard our plea for His help and guidance.

  • So needed for me today, this Thursday I have my first biopsy for monitoring and hopeful prevention of a cancer I have high genetic risk for. On top of a newly diagnosed autoimmune disease, there have been many times in recent months where I’ve wondered why God even put me here just to watch my loved ones die, and then to die myself… so often my life lately seems clouded by the specter of death, but even though I walk through the valley of its shadow, I will fear no evil, for He is with me.

  • Megan Newell

    This is what I really needed to hear. It’s so silly compared to all your stories however, I’m in the middle of my finals and tomorrow are my last two and they are a clash so I have to spend time in isolation and things but, I’m so nervous and worried about them, and I’ve had a big panic attack today about it all cause I’m sick at the moment too ( not bad at all) but this has just really encouraged me.

  • Katelyn Olivier

    Although I am not currently going through a heart wrenching trial right now, I have in the past and I poured out my heart to God. I can joyfully say that God heard all of those prayers and answered each of them. Reading through these comments reminds me of the quote in today’s devotional about having infinite human awareness. God listens to so many heart wrenching cries for mercy, help, and relief every second….and he deeply cares about all of them. What a great and gracious God we serve!

  • Denise Powers Fabian

    I’ve known this Psalm memorizing as a child to the point where I kind of passed over it. This had new meaning for me today. Thank you for including this as part of the study!

  • I am in tears today and continue to pray. I have been without my son now for over a year because of CPS. I was in a car accident and they have said that I am incapable of taking care of him.
    I have been complying and doing all that I can do during this time. I have had to move again and change jobs. I found a new church right away called Church Home and am now in a church group that introduced me to this app.
    This Prayer touched home with me. For the last year I have been in tears I have cried and cried for God to give me back my son. I have been in so much the year before that and nothing is more pain then having your son taken from you. I do not have anger only pain and sorrow and all I can do is pray. Please pray for me I really need more prayers.
    Glad to have joined.

    • Shellie

      Oh how this breaks my heart to hear this! Tabatha I will be praying for you and your son to be reunited. May I ask his name and his age?

    • Hannah Robinett

      I will be praying for you and your son Tabatha! I pray strength and peace for you and that your son will be able to come home soon.

    • Christine Kelly

      Praying Tabatha! I weep with you to hear this!

    • Sarah-Jane Beaudry

      Father God, uphold your daughter, Tabatha. Give her strength to get through every day. Give her joy even in dark moments. And give her hope for the future. Lord God, give her each day her daily bread – give her what she needs to manage and get through. And Father, protect her child. Uphold him and strengthen him. Let Angels protect him until the time when he is in his mothers arms once again. I pray for whoever is caring for him now. Dwell with them, father, and reign in their hearts. And I pray for those workers with CPS, that they would have compassion and therapeutic communication. Thank you Lord for providing a church community for Tabatha, and I ask that those relationships continue to be strengthened. In your glorious name, Amen.

  • Laura RollinsWarden

    We’ve likely all been in a situation where it just seemed like too much to continue. The weight of grief, sorrow, burden of hardship etc seemed like to heavy of a load to bear…but the Father in His goodness hears and plea and accepts our prayer. How comforting. No matter how hopelesss we feel, we have eternal hope.

  • Ashleigh Rivers

    This devotional and Psalm is exactly what I needed to read right now. Thank you

  • Heather RayHodges

    I love that the Lord “Longs to be gracious to us”. He desires it. That why we must stay close to the vine to fill our spirit with his loving kindness

  • Rachel Johnson

    I needed to read this right now. Literal tears on my pillow tonight, yet Jesus is here with me. Thank you, God.

  • Meagan Rasmussen

    OH. THANK YOU SPIRIT FOR SPEAKING FIRE THROUGH THIS GIRL. From our Father’s lips to our ears, we love love love you Lord. We love you.

  • Beth Starkey

    Needed this today, too. Even though I don’t know the future, I know the GOD that does! I will serve Him. I will continue to praise Him. Even in the storm, HE is my God. I am so thankful He hears our prayers, with arms open and ready to hold us close.

  • I feel trapped in my job–it’s not particularly horrible, not compared to many others, but it’s definitely got me weeping into my pillow. Thank you for reminding me to pray to God about it. He may not answer the way I want, but He will answer!

  • Christina Mendez

    Ooh that last paragraph got me & brought tears to my eyes. I need to cling to that & believe them for my life. I know that he is good!

  • Seriously could not have been a more timely message today as I prepare to go to an ENT appointment for an issue that has literally been sending me into a full on panic. It really helps to resonate the idea that He is always there, always listening, and knows the exact moment and Graces to be provided to each of us. I know our God is a God of promises and that He can and will provide exactly at the right time- today I am believing in that promise.

    • Emily

      Four years ago, I went in for a typical ENT appointment to discuss normal non-life threatening issues. They ordered a scan to get more detail. The results of that scan, and the areas they wanted to view were nothing spectacular. However, a tech, on an off shift, noticed something in the corner of the scan that the doctor had missed. It was tiny, and completely out of scope of the order. It was a small tumor. I had surgery almost immediately after to remove the tumor. The doctors said that by the time they usually find a tumor in that area, it is too late. Over 90% of patients pass away from that rare form of cancer. They said finding it was a miracle. I hope your appointment goes well, and I pray that God watches over you during this time. He hears you. There is power in His name. He washes away fear. He moves mountains we may not even see in front of us.

  • I’m also doing a study through 2 Samuel, and this morning I read chapter 22, which is the same as Psalm 18. If you have minute, read it too, it also talks of despair, and God’s mighty deliverance. I was struck by verse 31 (2 Sam or Psalm 18:30) “God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true.”
    I may not see eveidence of these promises, but they are still true. I may be stuck in a hard place, like David, but I can, like David, cry out to the Lord and know His promises are true, and His way is perfect. In the tough place, in illness or stress or despair, God’s way is perfect and His promises prove true. I HAVE to believe that, or there is no hope.

  • Bevvie Byrom

    Needed to read this today. How God listens to our brokenness. Oh Jesus you are so awesome.

  • Claire, thank you for another beautiful reminder of God’s character towards his beloved. I’m resting today in His mercy which covers all my anguish while restoring the oil of gladness my faint heart desires.

  • Chelsea Smith

    I enjoy the honesty shown in this psalm as he pours his heart out to the Lord. God always wants us to communicate with Him, even the things that aren’t refined for the presence of a King. David even questions the Lord, “how long?” Once we open to Him, He can begin His work of refining and refreshing; we see this in the change of focus in the the last three verses of this prayer. His faithful work in us is His answer to our plea for mercy.

  • Heather Dedrick

    The hope I needed to hear today. Love this study.

  • This of course, came at exactly the right time. And I’m in awe of these comments. You all have experienced so much, and yet you still say that God has been faithful and good. That is so beautiful. Yesterday was my brother and his wife’s anniversary…I asked my parents to make sure it was (I get confused between the 29th and 30th), then I sent them a happy anniversary message. But my dad texted me saying not to send anything…so I wondered why. I called them and they told me, that my brother and his wife’s relationship is really struggling. His wife left. And I am so heartbroken for them. My parents and my brother didn’t want to tell me until I came home and after I finished school…but when my dad said that I knew something was up. So heartbroken and sad. But wow oh wow, God is here with me. I cried out to Him yesterday. My sweet roommate prayed with me as I cried. As I took a shower, I prayed constantly to Him. He is the God of miracles. I believe in Him. I prayed boldly, and I will continue to. I definitely can’t hold the weight of this. I’m trying to give it all to Jesus. Praying that Jesus would break my brother and his wife’s heart for what breaks His, and for His will to be done. on earth as it is in heaven. Would really appreciate any prayers you all can give. Love you all, so thankful for this community.

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Sarah, thank you so much for sharing. We’re so sorry to hear this and will be praying for you and your family during this time. -Margot, The SRT Team

  • Dear sisters, once again I face court today. Rather not get into the details. Please pray that God’s will will be done. It was so God that today’s devotional is exactly what I needed.

    • DebRN

      In the presence of your enemies, He will prepare and provide for you. I ask Him for calmness within you. Supporting you in prayer.

    • KimN

      Praying for strength, wisdom and peace for you Mari. He is with you and nothing is a surprise for Him. Sending hugs and will continue to pray.

    • Beth Starkey

      Mari – sending prayers up for you! May God direct your path.

  • I’m struggling today. I’ve been struggling for many years. I think it’s too long. Nothing seems to change. I struggle to see God in any of it.

    • Dho

      Hi Elsie, I’m deeply sorry to hear that you are and have been hurting for so long. I don’t know your circumstances but I do know that even when you don’t feel him near God is near. He there with you through the “valley of the shadow of death” and though I can’t say how long you will be there, I believe that God is able to guide you through each and every moment of it. I pray that the God of all comfort become even more real and present to you now in these moments of difficulty. That you will come to truly feel him near but also that there will be breakthrough soon and very soon. Please draw on any friends/family/church community that you trust for support as well…and if none of those exist then never hesitate to ask for professional help if you think that’s needed.
      Keeping you in prayer today.

    • Mari

      I just prayed for you Elsie.

    • Alexis

      Praying for your heart Elsie. Cling to hope and know that God hears you and is with you.

    • Jennifer

      Lifting you up in prayer today, Elsie! I can hear the weariness in your words. I have known a similar feeling, when year after year brought hit after hit until I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Oh, sister, I wish I could sit with you over coffee and encourage you that the Lord really is *GOOD*. Even when life is falling apart all around us, even when the sky feels like a concrete barrier that prayer can’t punch through, He hears you and He loves you so!

  • Jenna Brown

    Someone told me this, “God may not change your circumstances, but he will change your mindset and your heart.” I have been recently struggling with a terrible sin that has left my relationship with my boyfriend who I love dearly on the line. Through all the sorrow and pain I am experiencing, I can rest In peace knowing God hears me, accepts me, loves me and truly wants the best for me. I just love when readings hit you like this one did for me.

    • Jasmine R

      Jenna, I’m right there with you! I’m also struggling with a sin that has brought my boyfriend to the end of his rope, and to the point where he’s got very little fight left within him. It’s something I’ve never struggled with in past relationships, but because I’ve believed the enemies lies about certain things and have allowed bad seeds to take root and sprout up within my heart….my actions are a result of that. My prayer is that we both believe God to do a mighty work and transformation within us! And trust him to be the restorer, redeemer and healer that He is!

  • Sharon Buys

    I am loving this entire study of the psalms! It’s so comforting to have each one tucked away for a time in need for myself or a loved one.

    • Lori

      I am as well. I think this has been my favorite #shereadstruth. I have read quite a few, but never in real time…. these psalms are so appropriate for where I am today.

  • Cindy Hodges

    Thank you Lord for always hearing my prayers. ❤️

  • God is always enough! Thank you for this devotional today.

  • Thank you, needed this reminder today. I’ve been distracted by “busyness” the last week or so and took my eyes off Jesus, allowing my “worries” to grow. Now I’m back on focus.

  • This …. “Whatever tears you are shedding today, rest in confidence that the Lord hears you clearly. He knows you, accepts you in Christ, wants to commune with you, and longs to be gracious to you, even in the darkest hours (Isaiah 30:18)”

  • YvonneBonnie Delgado

    Amen! Thank you Lord for accepting my prayer!

  • Susan Reagon

    Just read this to my husband who is struggling with pain and depression.It really helped him.Thank you

    • Becky Smith

      That’s wonderful, Susan, I pray he will continue to be encouraged and know that God hears him and sees him.

  • Devon Garrett

    Definitely needed this one today. I was diagnosed back in December with diabetes. I am a rare case in which I don’t fit a Type 1 or 2 situation. I saw a nutritionist yesterday who was just very forward with me about my needs for insulin and how it was a forever thing and it shattered me. But as soon as I got to my car I called out to Him. At first asking why he had to do this, but then more for peace and understanding. Thankful today that he always hears us.

    • SarahB

      Devon, I’m so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. You’re so courageous and inspiring to have called out to our Lord right away with questions – it’s so hard to make that our gut reaction. I’ve lived as a Type 1 for years and, let me tell you, as awful as needles and sickness and carb counting is, our Lord makes a way through it. I’ve learned more about him through my disease than through anything else. He will provide opportunities for you beyond your wildest dreams. He will move in this. Praying for you <3

  • April GaglianoCullett

    Thank you Lord for hearing my cries and for Your steadfast love for me that melts my heart and brings me hope.

  • Erin McFarlane

    Thank you, Jesus

  • Lori Olive

    Good stuff. Thank you Jesus. ♥️

  • Jessica McCreary

    ❤️

  • In a book by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I read that the Psalms, or the Psalter, are first and foremost Jesus’ prayer book…he prayed the Psalms, and he alone is perfectly righteous to both pray every one of them and fulfill every one.

    When I read the Psalms, first as Jesus’ prayers, and then secondly realizing that in him, I can pray them all too, it adds to my confidence, as we “approach the Throne of Grace” in our time of need (which is all the time).

  • Michelle Hogan

    Thank you father God ♥️

  • Stephanie Platt

    Thank you Jesus, for your love and mercy. ♥️

  • I always enjoy your devotional posts, Claire. Thank you. And I always enjoy reading the Psalms and David’s honesty with his feelings before God. I know when I have walked through things in the past I was tempted to not share them with God, thinking He already knew anyway and held on to things longer then I should have. I think my pride kept me there somehow, trying to manage things on my own. But once I shared my heart with my heavenly Father and gave it over to Him, there truly was a peace that surpassed all understanding. Tell Him exactly how you are feeling. Each time I have, He has met me in that place, lifted my head, and gave me so much peace.

  • Churchmouse

    Sitting in the airport I look at all these other travelers and wonder what is their story. I imagine the roar in my ears if I could hear their thoughts. We walk around silently bearing weighty burdens, unmet expectations and yes, joy and wonder. Life is a mixed lot. How comforting to know that God sees all and cares deeply for each one of us. Whatever our story, He is there. Wherever our journey, He is there. We need only invite Him along. He will answer the loudest cry and the softest whisper. His love will roar more loudly than our burdens or expectations. And His love will magnify our joy and wonder. Praying for all of us who hold His hand and for those who yet long for a good traveling companion. He is the best. And He will guide you confidently and assuredly to your final destination.

  • Amy MacKenzie

    This. ❤️

  • When my husband left us after the death of our daughter, what was left of my world
    crumbled even more to nothing. Though I had 2 other children I could not cope with these two so different losses that shattered my heart…

    I was worn out with grief; …. my pillow soaked in tears… I could hardly see.. or think straight… I took tablets… I wanted to end the pain, the ache, the turmoil of how I would go on…

    But God…

    Oh But God…
    He did hear my weeping, and He heard my innermost cries for help… for strength.. For hope…
    He heard those cries each and every day for a long time… even after rescuing me from the pill taking… but one day at a time, He walked me through my day, one step at a time…day into night… night into day until the day came that the ache was not so overwhelming…
    That was some years ago now…
    The Lord has promised good to me, that He will walk beside me in times of trouble, in times of sorrow… in times of joy.. In my weakness He is made strong.. my battle won.. no matter how long it takes me to get it…!!!
    Jesus said.. ‘…. In this world you will have trouble… but take heart I have overcome the world… (John 16:33)..I hang on to this every day..
    God hears.
    He sees.
    He knows.
    He cares.
    He loves us.
    He will see us right.
    He DOES answer prayers.. !

    Amen.

    Much love being sent out to you my Sisters at SRT… Happy Tuesday! Xxx

    • Kristen

      Thanks so much, Tina. My loss of a child is different, because she was stillborn. My husband had an affair with a woman that I had the helped out. I was devastated. I felt like I was like David crying and weeping each day and night. However, God was there through it all. He sent people at the right time and put me in the right places. She was a pagan, but even though she did this, I know God loves her too. We can pray that God will become her God and Jesus her Savior. It’s been a while as well for me too. It was devestating, and only by God’s working things they way He did is how I am where I am today. You are right though, God is always good and always there even when we don’t understand. I was just reading in the First 5 app from Proverbs 31 Ministries about His thoughts and ways aren’t our ways. He always has the best plan.

  • Peyton Harbuck

    I really needed this today❤️

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