Cry for help
Psalms 102:1 NASB
Hear my prayer, O Lord!
And let my cry for help come to You.
Hear my prayer, O LORD.
Sincere supplicants are not content with praying for praying’s sake, they desire really to reach the ear and heart of God.
It is a great relief in time of distress to acquaint others with our trouble, we are eased by their hearing our lamentation, but it is the sweetest solace of all to have God himself as a sympathizing listener to our plaint.
That he is such is no dream or fiction, but an assured fact!
It would be the direst of all our woes if we could be indisputably convinced that with God there is neither hearing nor answering; he who could argue us into so dreary a belief would do us no better service than if he had read us our death-warrants.
Better die than be denied the mercy-seat.
As well be atheists at once as believe in an unhearing, unfeeling God.
And let my cry come unto thee.
When sorrow rises to such a height that words become too weak a medium of expression, and prayer is intensified into a cry, then the heart is even more urgent to have audience with the Lord.
If our cries do not enter within the veil, and reach to the living God, we may as well cease from prayer at once, for it is idle to cry to the winds; but, blessed be God, the philosophy which suggests such a hideous idea is disproved by the facts of every day experience, since thousands of the saints can declare, “Verily, God hath heard us.”
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
The prayer following is longer than others.
When Satan, the Law-Adversary, doth extend his pleas against us, it is meet that we should enlarge our counter pleas for our own souls; as the powers of darkness do lengthen and multiply their wrestlings, so must we our counter wrestlings of prayer. Ephesians 6:12,18 .
— Thomas Cobbet, 1667.
When he… poureth out, etc.
Here we have the manner of the church’s prayer suitable to her extremity illustrated by a simile taken from a vessel overcharged with new wine or strong liquor, that bursts for vent.
The heart-bursting cries she sends out all the day!
Here is no lazy, slothful, lip labour, stinted forms of prayer, no empty sounds of verbal expressions, which can never procure her a comfortable answer from her God, or the least ease to her burdened soul; but poured-out prayers as Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:15 , and Jeremy in Lamentations 2:12 , pressed forth with vehemence of spirit and heart pangs of inward grief: thus the Lord deals with his church and people.
Before He pour out cups of consolation they must pour out tears in great measure. — Finiens Canus Vove.
This is the mourner’s prayer when he is faint,
And to the Eternal Father breathes his plaint.
— John Keble.
The psalm has been attributed to Daniel, to Jeremiah, to Nehemiah, or to some of the other prophets who flourished during the time of the captivity. The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews has applied Psalms 102:25-27 to our Lord, and the perpetuity of his kingdom.
— Adam Clarke.
I doubt whether, without apostolic teaching, any of us would have had the boldness to understand it; for in many respects it is the most remarkable of all the Psalms — the Psalm of “THE AFFLICTED ONE” — while his soul is overwhelmed within him in great affliction, and sorrow, and anxious fear.
— Adolph Saphir, in “Expository Lectures on the Epistle to the Hebrews.”
Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee.
When, at any time we see the beggars, or poor folks, that are pained and grieved with hunger and cold, lying in the streets of cities and towns, full of sores, we are somewhat moved inwardly with pity and mercy; but if we our own selves attend and give ear to their wailings, cryings, and lamentable noises that they make, we should be much more stirred to show our pity and mercy on them; for no man else can show the grief of the sick and sore persons, so well and in so pathetic a manner as he himself.
Therefore, since the miserable crying and wailing of those that suffer bodily pain and misery can prevail so much upon the hearts of mortal creatures; I doubt not, Good Lord, but thou, who art all merciful, must needs be inclined to exercise thy mercy, if my sorrowful cry and petition may come unto thine ears, or into thy presence.
— John Fisher (1459- 1535) in “A Treatise concerning the fruitful Sayings of David,” 1714.
His own, and not another’s; not what was composed for him, but composed by him; which came out of his own heart, and out of unfeigned lips, and expressed under a feeling sense of his own wants and troubles; and though dictated and inwrought in his heart by the Spirit of God, yet, being put up by him in faith and fervency, it is called his own, and which he desires might be heard.
— John Gill.
Lest my praying should not prevail, behold, O God, I raise it to a cry; and crying, I may say, is the greatest bell in all the ring of praying: for louder than crying I cannot pray.
O, then, if not my prayer, at least let my cry come unto thee. If I be not heard when I cry, I shall cry for not being heard; and if heard when I cry, I shall cry to be heard yet more; and so whether heard or not heard, I shall cry still, and God grant I may cry still; so thou be pleased, O God, to “hear my prayer,” and to “let my cry come unto thee.”
— Sir R. Baker.
This language is the language of godly sorrow, of faith, of tribulation, and of anxious hope: of faith, for the devout suppliant lifts up his heart and voice to heaven, “as seeing him who is invisible,” ( Hebrews 11:27 ) and entreats him to hear his prayer and listen to his crying: of tribulation, for he describes himself as enduring affliction, and unwilling to lose the countenance of the Lord in his time of his trouble: of anxious hope, for he seems to expect, in the midst of his groaning, that his prayers, like those of Cornelius, will “go up for a memorial before God” who will hear him, “and that right soon.”
— Charles Oxenden, in “Sermons on the Seven Penitential Psalms,” 1838.
The Lord suffereth his babbling children to speak to him in their own form of speech, (albeit the terms which they use be not fitted for his spiritual, invisible, and incomprehensible majesty); such as are, “Hear me,” “hide not thy face,” “incline thine ear to me,” and such like other speeches.
— David Dickson.
Note, David sent his prayer as a sacred ambassador to God. Now there are four things requisite to make an embassy prosperous. The ambassador must be regarded with favourable eye: he must be heard with a ready ear: he must speedily return when his demands are conceded. These four things David as a suppliant asks from God his King.
— Le Blanc.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
▪︎ Afflicted men may pray.
▪︎ Afflicted men should pray even when overhelmed.
▪︎ Afflicted men can pray — for what is wanted is a pouring out of their complaint, not an oratorical display.
▪︎ Afflicted men are accepted in prayer — for this prayer is placed on record.
Verse 1-2. Five steps to the mercy-seat. The Psalmist prays for,
- Audience: “Hear my prayer.”
- Access: “Let my cry come before thee.”
- Unveiling: “Hide not thy face.”
- An intent ear: “Incline thine ear.”
— C. Davis.
Verse 1, 17, 19-20. An interesting discourse may be founded upon these passages.
▪︎ The Lord entreated to hear — Psalms 102:1 .
▪︎ The Promise given
▪︎ that he will hear — Psalms 102:17 .
▪︎ The Record that the Lord has heard — Psalms 102:19-20 .
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Hear my prayer, O Lord
The prayer of a poor, destitute, and afflicted one; his own, and not another’s; not what was composed for him, but composed by him; which came out of his own heart, and out of unfeigned lips, and expressed under a feeling sense of his own wants and troubles; and though dictated and inwrought in his heart by the Spirit of God, yet, being put up by him in faith and fervency, it is called his own, and which he desires might be heard.
and let my cry come unto thee
He calls his prayer cry, because it was uttered in distress, and with great vehemency and importunity; and he prays that it might come unto God, even into his ears, and be regarded by him, and not shut out: prayer comes aright to God, when it comes through Christ, and out of his hands, perfumed with the incense of his mediation.
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Hear my prayer, O Lord
Psalms 102:25-27 references to the Christ.
Hebrews 1:10-12 assures us that in the preceding verses of Psalm 102 we have, prophetically, the exercises of His holy soul in the days of His humiliation and rejection.
See Psalm 110, next in order of the Messianic Psalms.
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