Opening Prayer

“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest” (Matt. 21:9).

Read PSALM 40

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him.

Blessed is the one
    who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
    to those who turn aside to false gods.[b]
Many, Lord my God,
    are the wonders you have done,
    the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
    were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
    they would be too many to declare.

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—
    but my ears you have opened[c]
    burnt offerings and sin offerings[d] you did not require.
Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
    it is written about me in the scroll.[e]
I desire to do your will, my God;
    your law is within my heart.”

I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly;
    I do not seal my lips, Lord,
    as you know.
10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
    I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help.
I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness
    from the great assembly.

11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord;
    may your love and faithfulness always protect me.
12 For troubles without number surround me;
    my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
    and my heart fails within me.
13 Be pleased to save me, Lord;
    come quickly, Lord, to help me.

14 May all who want to take my life
    be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
    be turned back in disgrace.
15 May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
    be appalled at their own shame.
16 But may all who seek you
    rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
    “The Lord is great!”

17 But as for me, I am poor and needy;
    may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
    you are my God, do not delay.


  1. Psalm 40:1 In Hebrew texts 40:1-17 is numbered 40:2-18.
  2. Psalm 40:4 Or to lies
  3. Psalm 40:6 Hebrew; some Septuagint manuscripts but a body you have prepared for me
  4. Psalm 40:6 Or purification offerings
  5. Psalm 40:7 Or come / with the scroll written for me

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


We can pray for the patience of the psalmist, to wait on the Lord and hear His voice.

Think Further

David is very conscious here of his fragility and need. Facing problems from many directions (v 12), he has enemies who would rejoice in his downfall (vs 14,15) and he’s under no illusion about his own spiritual state. He is poor and needy (v 17), his sins can easily overwhelm him (v 12). The metaphor of the ‘slimy pit’ (v 2) sums up powerfully the difficulty any of us can have in maintaining spiritual stability in troubled times and finding a firm place to stand.

What keeps David going is not confidence in himself, but in God. The whole psalm acknowledges God’s protection over him, expressing thankfulness for God’s mercy and deliverance. God lifts David out of the mud, saves him, delivers him, and puts a song in his heart. Here is a clear Old Testament picture of God’s grace and love. God is not fixated on sacrifices or rituals (v 6) but on faithfully showing love and mercy toward us. God is the active one. David’s part is simply to open his heart to receive him. This is what empowers David. He wants to praise God and publicly share his goodness. He wants others to know God’s faithfulness so that God can be glorified.

David never denies his own neediness. Even after extolling God’s greatness and victory, he returns to his own fragility and his never- ending dependence on God. We can do the same. There is nothing incompatible between knowing our own weakness and failures and praising God for all we are worth! How often in your life have you felt discouraged by relationships or situations and been dragged into despondency? The reminder here is that we need never stay there. God can place our feet on firm ground. God can engulf us in his love and give our hearts new gratitude and praise.


What things get you down most? Name them before God and ask him to give you the peace and stability that lifts you above them.

Closing prayer

Patient One, engulf me in your love and fill my heart with new gratitude and praise.

Last Updated on April 2, 2023 by kingstar

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