Opening Prayer

Father in heaven, you are faithful; your mercies are new every morning. I offer you thanksgiving and praise.

Read PSALM 79

Psalm 79

A psalm of Asaph.

O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance;
    they have defiled your holy temple,
    they have reduced Jerusalem to rubble.
They have left the dead bodies of your servants
    as food for the birds of the sky,
    the flesh of your own people for the animals of the wild.
They have poured out blood like water
    all around Jerusalem,
    and there is no one to bury the dead.
We are objects of contempt to our neighbors,
    of scorn and derision to those around us.

How long, Lord? Will you be angry forever?
    How long will your jealousy burn like fire?
Pour out your wrath on the nations
    that do not acknowledge you,
on the kingdoms
    that do not call on your name;
for they have devoured Jacob
    and devastated his homeland.

Do not hold against us the sins of past generations;
    may your mercy come quickly to meet us,
    for we are in desperate need.
Help us, God our Savior,
    for the glory of your name;
deliver us and forgive our sins
    for your name’s sake.
10 Why should the nations say,
    “Where is their God?”

Before our eyes, make known among the nations
    that you avenge the outpoured blood of your servants.
11 May the groans of the prisoners come before you;
    with your strong arm preserve those condemned to die.
12 Pay back into the laps of our neighbors seven times
    the contempt they have hurled at you, Lord.
13 Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture,
    will praise you forever;
from generation to generation
    we will proclaim your praise.

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.


“They called out in a loud voice, ‘How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?’”1

Think Further

I have a good idea of how Asaph was feeling when he wrote this psalm. Fellow Christians in my country of Nigeria do. We know what it is to have our land ravaged by the enemy, to have our places of worship desecrated and burnt down, and to have our leaders murdered along with many of their flock (vv. 1–3). In all this, we are not alone. Verse 5 is a plaintive cry we share with the suffering church in many countries of the world today.

Asaph saw his circumstances as a consequence of the sins of past generations (v. 8). As Christians today, we do not have that luxury. We have to accept full responsibility for our own failings. Taking note of God’s promise to King Solomon at the dedication of the temple, we must humble ourselves before the Lord and seek his face in earnest prayer so that he will hear from heaven, forgive our sins, and heal our land.2 Sadly, however, we often fail to turn from our wicked ways!

We share in the desperation of this psalmist and his desire that God’s name be glorified (vv. 8,9). We know God to be our Savior in a more comprehensive way than he could have imagined (v. 9). We live in the age of grace, and so we know better now than to call down God’s wrath on our enemies (vv. 6,12). The desire of our hearts is, as Paul enjoined Timothy: ‘that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil.’3 This is what turns Saul of Tarsus into Paul the apostle; and it is our prayer for those who persecute God’s people everywhere.


Find out details of one country where the church is being persecuted and make a regular habit of praying for them.

Closing prayer

Thank you, Gracious God, for all that you provide. Even in the face of hardship, help me to trust, to praise, and to proclaim your faithfulness.

Last Updated on January 28, 2024 by kingstar

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