Psalms

A Prayer for Divine Help–Psalm 5

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A Prayer for Divine Help–Psalm 5

Give ear to my words, O Lord;
    understand my sighing.
Attend to the sound of my cry,
    my King and my God!
For to You I will pray, Lord;
    in the morning You will hear my voice;
    in the morning I will plead before You and wait.

You are not a God who delights in evil;
    no wicked person finds refuge with You;
    the arrogant cannot stand before Your eyes.
You hate all who do evil;
    You destroy those who speak falsely.
A bloody and fraudulent man
    the Lord abhors.

But I, through the abundance of Your mercy,
    will enter into Your House.
I will bow down toward Your Holy Sanctuary
    out of [reverent] fear of You.
Lord, guide me in Your justice because of my foes;
    make straight Your way before me.

10 For there is no sincerity in their mouth;
    their heart is corrupt.
Their throat is an open grave;
    on their tongue are subtle lies.
11 Declare them guilty, God;
    make them fall by their own devices.
Drive them out for their many sins;
    for they have rebelled against You.

12 Then all who trust in You will be glad
    and forever shout for joy.
You will protect them and those will rejoice in You
    who love Your Name.
13 For You, Lord, bless the just one;
    You surround him with favor like a shield.


Psalm 5 is known as a powerful morning prayer, especially when in need of divine intervention or help. St. Augustine — formerly recognized as a doctor of the Church and one of the most important early figures in the development of Western Christianity — also taught that the traditional title of this psalm, “For her who receives the inheritance,” refers to the Church herself, whose members (you and I) are heirs to eternal life in Christ.

As with Psalm 4, this psalm is a personal lament which strongly contrasts the security of those who abide in the House of God, i.e. the faithful (v 8-9, 12-13) with the danger of keeping the company of evildoers (v 5-7, 10-11). St. John Paul II reaffirmed this by stating, “This psalm of appeal (prayer; supplication), like so many others in the Book of Psalms, [strongly] contrasts the person who prays with those who do evil.”* The psalmist therefore prays that God will hear his plea (v 2-4) and grant him the same protection and peace as with the Holy Temple (v 8).

Psalm 5 reminds us of God’s unwavering love, constant care and assistance for us. It reminds us that we can turn to Him in confidence amidst any and all turmoil, sin, temptation and worry that surrounds our daily lives. And that when we remain united with God, we will always remain secure. By way of prayer, faithfully expressing our trust in His great and unfathomable mercy, God will shower His blessing and protection upon us with an unsurpassable and divine goodness.

As you prayerfully read over this psalm today, take a few extra moments to meditate on the final verse: “For You, Lord, bless the just one; You surround him with favor like a shield” (v 13).


*Reference: St. John Paul II, “General Audience” – May 30, 2001

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