Transforming Lent 2019 – Day nine

Prayer is conversation with God. That is, we are invited to spend time in direct address to the maker of heaven and earth, to the one who loves and sustains, to the one who redeems. It is this focused speech that distinguishes praying from other kinds of ‘spiritual’ activity like meditation or mindfulness. In prayer we entrust ourselves to God without neutrality: we address God directly in the second person, ‘You.’

Every line of Psalm 86 has at least one ‘you’ or ‘your’. In Hebrew there are two ways to express this: the most common is with a suffix ‘you’, but the more emphatic is with an independent pronoun which is hardly ever necessary yet used for the purpose of accent. In this Psalm that emphatic form of the pronoun (here expressed in capitals) is used six times to stress the point:

YOU are my God (v.2)
For YOU, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all you call on YOU. (v.5)
For YOU are great and do wondrous things; You alone are God. (v.10)
But YOU, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness (v.15)
Because YOU, Lord, have helped and comforted me. (v.17).

When you read this Psalm as a prayer today, I encourage you to do so with an openness to discover more about the YOU to whom you are speaking. I think you’ll be inspired to entrust yourself the more completely and directly.