Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 (NRSV)
Verse 1Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
Verse 2before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh. Stir up your might, and come to save us!
Verse 3Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
Verse 4O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people's prayers?
Verse 5You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure.
Verse 6You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves.
Verse 7Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
Verse 17But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand, the one whom you made strong for yourself.
Verse 18Then we will never turn back from you; give us life, and we will call on your name.
Verse 19Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
The psalmist knows exactly what to ask for when calling out to God. Help us. Save us. Restore us. Give us life. The words of request are straightforward, clear, and easily understood. Are we always as clear when we pray asking for God’s help? Of course, there are many ways to pray and we can be sure that God hears them all. But a question worth considering is, do we always live as though we believe God hears our prayers? A colleague and chaplain once shared with me that one day at the end of a hospital visit the patient said almost with a note of surprise, “You prayed as if you really believe God is sitting here with us, listening to you.” May you be able to pray as if you really believe God is sitting with you and ready to hear and answer your prayer.
Holy One, Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer, smile your radiant smile upon us and that will be enough. Amen.