Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
From the end of the earth, I call to you,
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I;
for you are my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.
Let me abide in your tent for ever,
find refuge under the shelter of your wings.....
Prolong the life of the king;
may his years endure to all generatioins!
May he be enthroned for ever before God;
appoint steadfast love and faithfulness
to watch over him!
(Church in Wales Lectionary, New Revised Standard Versiion)
The writer of Psalm 61 (probably David), knows that God hears our prayers, but he accepts that God doesn't always respond to them, particularly in the way we want. David is in danger, and uses imagery that he understands - a rock that is high offers protection from a surprise attack; living in the king's tent offers refuge; and the warrior-king that lives a long time offers safety to the whole tribe. He sees God as offering all these things, and asks for His help.
Today in the UK, we ring 999 in an emergency, asking for an ambulance when hurt; the fire brigade when the house is on fire; or the Coastguard when there is danger at sea. This is an emergency number, and there are other numbers for non-emergencies: 111 for a health problem; and 101 to contact the police. Most countries have something.similar.
But what about the emergency 'calls' we make to God - our prayers? Do we ask for the right things? Do we use it to ask for the best seat on the plane, or a loaf of bread on the shelf? Each of us must make our own decisions about what is important, and whether praying for children in Yemen is more important that not getting frost in the garden tonight!
help us to bring
a sense of order
and a notion of priority
to our prayers;
to forget our petty petitions,
and to pray for others
who are hungry or cold,
or who have no shelter,
as well as for those in danger
The Epistle of James says this:
'Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.' (James 5.16)
Here are some sites that offer prayers for those in need: