A Pattern of Prayer
Psalm 86:1-17
Bow down your ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy.…

Earnest reiteration is not vain repetition. Christ used many repetitions, as does the psalmist. This is a pattern of prayer in its invocations, petitions and pleas.

I. THE INVOCATIONS. The appeals to the Divine Name.

1. The significance of invocation, not a mere formality, but the basis of all prayer.

(1) Names expressing certain aspects of Divine character.

(2) The use we make of these names.

(a)  Thought. We think of God under this aspect.

(b)  Confidence. We avow our faith in Him.

(c)  Appeal. We remind God of what He has declared Himself to be.

2. The invocations in this prayer. Note the frequent and varied use of the Divine names. These are made the ground of confidence.

(1) Jehovah — a name with two-fold meaning.

(a)  The word itself. Eternal, underived existence.

(b)  Its history. The seal of the covenant, i.e. the eternal God entering into covenant relations with man.

(2) My God.

(a)  God implies fulness of power.

(b)  My God. The Godhead appropriated, i.e. Almighty strength, claimed by human need.

(3) Lord, not here meaning Jehovah, but the God of authority and dominion.

II. THE PETITIONS — a progress in thought and desire.

1. The introductory petition.

(1) Loving regard. "Bow down Thine ear."(2) A mighty answer. Hearing means answering.

2. Deliverance under a three-fold aspect.

(1) Protection — "preserve my soul."(2) Safety.

(3) Mercy. The source of both. The first two emphasize the psalm. ist's peril. The last his unworthiness. No word as to the manner of deliverance. He leaves all that to God.

3. The crowning blessing. Gladness as the result of all these. "Rejoice the soul of Thy servant."

III. THE PLEAS. The arguments of prayer. The reasons why God should bless.

1. Man's necessities. "I am poor and needy."(1) Circumstances borne down by outward calamity.

(2) Character, destitute of inward resources. These constitute a prevailing plea with God.

2. Man's relations and desires towards God.

(1) Divine favour. "I am holy." I am favoured by God.

(2) Possession. "Thy servant." The Lord cares for the slave.

(3) Confidence. "That trusteth in Thee."(4) Supplication. "I cry unto Thee daily."(5) Aspiration. "Unto Thee do I lift up my soul."

3. God's own character. "For Thou, Lord, art good and ready to forgive." This the mightiest plea of all. We can add to these pleas the name of Christ.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: {A Prayer of David.} Bow down thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy.

WEB: Hear, Yahweh, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.

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