How Long? :: Psalm 6

2016-07-03 09.34.05O LORD, do not rebuke us in your anger, or discipline us in your wrath. Be gracious to us, O LORD, for we are languishing; O LORD, heal us, for our bones are shaking with terror. Our soul also is struck with terror, while you, O LORD—how long? – Psalm 6:1-3 (NRSV)

God of the nations, we join our voices with those throughout the world, asking: How long?

How long will humanity choose violence to communicate? How long will fear be the currency of power? We continue to be surprised, Lord, by acts of seemingly random violence. Shooters and suicide bombers – and even a military coup – seem to be in the news everyday. In the uncertainty of this world, help us to trust in you.


Turn, O LORD, save our life; deliver us for the sake of your steadfast love. For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who can give you praise? – Psalm 6:4-5

Holy and Mighty God, we join our voices to those who have called on your name throughout the ages, asking: How long?

How long will our nation be divided over the value of life? Our young men die in our cars, in our homes, in our streets – their lifeblood pouring out of them. You created us in your image, yet still as diverse as a fingerprint. Why can’t we see how much you love each of us? Why must we choose the color of the skin, the place of our birth, the uniform we wear as a division you do not see?  Teach us love and the value of life.


We are weary with our moaning; every night we flood our bed with tears; we drench our couch with our weeping. Our eyes waste away because of grief; they grow weak because of all our foes. – Psalm 6:6-7

God of decency and order, we join our voices with the hopeless, asking: How long?

How long will those who are evil prey on the hopelessness of young men and women? How long will we blame the victim rather than the ones who offer them violence and hate as their only path in this world? Let us not be so overcome by fear that we turn a blind eye to those who lack opportunity simply because of the color of their skin or the god they profess. Help us to weep for all who are victims of those who teach terror.


Depart from us, all you workers of evil, for the LORD has heard the sound of our weeping. The LORD has heard our supplication; the LORD accepts our prayer. All our enemies shall be ashamed and struck with terror; they shall turn back, and in a moment be put to shame. – Psalm 6:8-10

O Lord, how long? How long will this be our cry? We lift up this world of violence that you may heal us. May we be ashamed of our words when they do not speak love and our silence when we do not speak out. Teach us another way to live in the world. Teach us to seek peace. Teach us to trust in you.

Merciful God, we join our voices with all who seek your name as we pray using the words most familiar to each of us: Our Father…


God of the nations, we join our voices with those throughout the world, asking: How long? Click To Tweet



If you are interested in more prayers like this, consider checking out my book:

Prayers for the People: Scripturally Based Prayers for WorshipPrayers for the People is a collection of prayers for worship. These prayers offer the worshipping community fresh perspectives for praying the words of Scripture, using current language and references. Cross-referenced to the Revised Common Lectionary, pastors seeking to lead their people in prayer have found a relevant and beautiful source for worship planning.

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