Help Me, Lord!

What is your favorite prayer? Not a formal prayer, like the Lord’s Prayer or the Prayer of Confession, but your personal go-to prayer that you say over and over again? Mine is “Help me, Lord!” This is a prayer I use all day long. I use it in extreme situations, such as the time my daughter had a fibroid removed that turned out to be a malignant tumor, and in the trivial moments of driving in bad traffic or trying to run up a steep hill. “Help me, Lord” is a universal plea that comes in handy in any situation.

David uses this prayer in the first verse of today’s reading. His simple and concise request encompasses a lot of background angst. His enemies were pressing in and trying to kill him. The mentally deranged King Saul was determined to eliminate him. He was on the run. Have you ever felt the urgent need for God’s help? I think we have all been there.

Psalm 109:26-31

Help me, Lord my God!
    Save me according to your faithful love!

27 And let them know that this is by your hand—
    that you have done it, Lord!

28 Let them curse—but you, bless me!
    If they rise up, let them be disgraced,
        but let your servant celebrate!
29 Let my accusers be dressed in shame;
    let them wear their disgrace like a coat.
30 But I will give great thanks to the Lord with my mouth;
    among a great crowd I will praise God!
31 Because God stands right next to the needy,
    to save them from any who would condemn them.

I am reminded of the Canaanite mother who approached Jesus in Matthew 15:25. Her daughter was possessed by a demon, and she went to the Lord with a simple “help me” prayer. Her persistent faith won Jesus over and her daughter was saved. 

Part of our take-away from this is a reminder that none of us approach God for help based on our own merit. David had multiple sins in his past and the Canaanite woman was a pagan. Neither one could show their credentials as they made their request for help. But God answered their prayers, not based on their worthiness but on the extravagant grace and mercy that flows from his heart. This is good news for us today, as we stand before God needing help. We can’t earn grace, but we can receive it.

David’s response to God’s intervention in his crisis was to “give great thanks to the Lord with my mouth; among a great crowd I will praise God” (verse 30). Do we do that? Do we remember to not only thank God for his intervention, but to do so in front of an unbelieving world?

As United Methodists, we take a vow to support our churches with prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. Notice that last word. Like David, we are called to give witness to the power of God in our lives in a way that shows people who God is and whose we are. Like David, we have opportunities to praise God among the great crowds. Who knows what an impression that might make?

And we don’t even need a pulpit. I once met a Jewish woman who noticed that I used the word “blessed” a lot. Finally she asked me about it, and I had a chance to give my testimony. Even our word choices can be a witness to our faith and enable us to praise God to others in ways that are invitational and approachable. Thanks be to God!

Moonglow by Sharon Tinucci