Week 29: Psalms 86-88


Reading: Psalms 86-88

           Click on the link for the reading to read the Psalms for this week.  As we read, let us not do so in haste.  Take time to read each Psalm at least three times:  once to understand the content, once as a poem or song to feel the meaning, and once as a prayer to appropriate the Psalm into your life.   There will often be a hymn attached at the bottom of the page that helps bring meaning to one of the Psalms for the week.


PSALM 86: You Alone Are God

                Psalm 86 has been constructed so that whoever used the psalm prays with a sustained concentration on the character of God and the identity of the one who prays.  It is an excellent model for prayer. 

  • Prayer is the voice of dependence, verse 1.
  • Prayer is the voice of trust, verse 2.
  • Prayer is not only a plea for life, it is a submission of life. The servant can serve only one master (see Matt. 6:19-34).  Prayer is the voice of commitment, verses 11-12.


PSALM  87: This One Was Born in Zion

            This difficult psalm can be divided into two major themes: Zion as God’s city, verses 1-2, Zion’s worldwide significance verses 3-7.  Jerusalem became the symbol of God’s sovereignty over all places, times, and peoples.  All people are God’s children.  If Psalm 87 were taken seriously, we could not condone the dehumanization of other people and still claim God’s approval.  The only permissible goal of the Christian is love, for God so loves the world.


PSALM   88: The Darkness Is My Closest Friend

            This psalm consists mostly of lament over the psalmist’s condition.  There is only one petition: listen to my prayer.  There is no praise, no confession, no vows. What we do have is the prominence of death.  The lament speaks not only of an affliction that leads to death but of death itself.  Death is so near and so real that it becomes the subject of the lament.  But it is not necessary to limit the psalm’s relevance to situations of illness.  The language is metaphorical enough to express other life-threatening situations.  It is thought that this psalm was used as an exilic prayer to articulate the plight of the whole people in exile.  Whatever our extreme agony, this psalm helps us articulate it in prayer.





This is the Psalm in hymn form.  Read or sing it through with melody to give the Psalm another dimension. 









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