Psalm 88:13
But to You, O LORD, I cry for help; in the morning my prayer comes before You.
Morning DevotionT. L. Cuyler, D. D.Psalm 88:13
Prayer Getting in Front of GodR. Tuck Psalm 88:13
A Portrait of a Suffering ManHomilistPsalm 88:1-18
Heman's Sorrowful PsalmPsalm 88:1-18
Light in the DarknessC. Short Psalm 88:1-18
No Trouble Too Great for God to LiftThe Advertiser.Psalm 88:1-18
The Saddest Psalm in the PsalterS. Conway Psalm 88:1-18
In the morning shall my prayer prevent thee. The idea is a singular one, based upon the older meaning of the word "prevent." Thinking of God under the figure of an earthly King, he conceives of himself as a petitioner who is so intense in his desire that he reaches the palace gate before the King is up. His prayer is there before the King is. To "prevent" now means to "hinder." In older days it simply meant to "go before," to "anticipate." The word is never used in the sense of "hinder," either in the Bible, as we have it, or in the books of the age in which it was translated. But it should further be observed that getting up very early in the morning to do a thing is a frequent Bible figure for doing a thing earnestly, doing it with all your heart. It is still true of us that if we are thoroughly in earnest about a matter, we can easily get up early in the morning to attend to it. So this figure of the psalmist does but express his intense earnestness in prayer, the fervency of his desire, his almost passionate waiting on God, that makes him feel as if he could get before God, as if he could be there to plead before God was there to hear. It can be but a figure of man's feeling. He never can be ready before God is; he cannot get before God. Man is always second in prayer; God is always first in waiting to receive prayer.

I. MAN THINKING HE CAN BE FIRST WITH GOD. He can get before his fellow man, and ask what his fellow has not thought about, and is not quite prepared to give. And so, in his intensity, man thinks he can even be first with God; he thinks he can ask what God has not thought about. He can tell God something. God does indeed gently and graciously deal with impetuous and impulsive souls, and let them freely speak out all their hearts, and even think they have informed him a great deal. He loves our confidences, even if they are intense; but he must often smile as the mother smiles on her impetuous boy, who tells her, as if it was something quite new, what she has suspected or known for a long time. But the earnestness that tries to be first with God cannot fail to be acceptable to him.

II. MAN FINDING OUT THAT GOD IS ALWAYS FIRST WITH HIM. It comes to us occasionally as a great surprise, that what we have asked God about so intensely, he has been a long while attending to. He knew our need before we felt it, and let it take shape as prayer. And that is one of the most important blessings that follow prayer. Asking God's help in some things, we find out that God's help has all the while been in everything. - R.T.

In the morning shall my prayer prevent Thee.
As the Oriental traveller sets out for the sultry journey over burning sands by loading up his camel under the palm-trees' shade, and fills his water flagons from the crystal fountain which sparkles at its roots, so does Christ's pilgrim draw his morning supplies from the exhaustless spring. Morning is the golden hour for prayer and praise. The mind is fresh; the mercies of the night and the new resurrection of the dawn both prompt a devout soul to thankfulness. The buoyant heart takes its earliest flight, like the lark, towards the gates of heaven. One of the finest touches in Bunyan's immortal allegory is his description of Christian in the chamber of Peace, "who awoke and sang while his window looked out to the sun rising." "In the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee."

(T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)

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