“Show us your steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation.” (Psalm 85:7)
If you did yesterday’s devotion (and it’s not too late! You can do it any time!), you have already spent some time with this verse and this psalm. It pops up in the Book of Common Prayer version of Morning Prayer that I say at least some of the time. It’s a simple and pure prayer, which is probably why it got snapped up by the prayer book compilers for daily use along with some other petitions straight out of the psalms:
Versicle: Show us your mercy [another translation], O Lord;
Response: And grant us your salvation.
V: Clothe your ministers with righteousness;
R: Let your people sing with joy.
V: Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;
R: For only in you can we live in safety.
V: Lord, keep this nation under your care;
R: And guide us in the way of justice and truth.
V: Let your way be known upon earth;
R: Your saving health among all nations.
V; Let not the needy, O Lord, we forgotten;
R: Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.
V: Create in us clean hearts, O God;
R: And sustain us with your Holy Spirit
These lines are meant to be prayed responsively, but almost every time I’ve done this, I’ve prayed them all myself.
This is a season in which the most basic and necessary prayers feel like the best and most urgent petitions we can offer. Show us your steadfast love! What could be more urgent and necessary than that? In Advent we move through a familiar story. The world is waiting for the Messiah, and the Messiah comes. The prayers of the faithful were, in a way, answered.
And now we’re in another Advent as we await the final coming of the Messiah into our world and our hearts. So we ask for God’s salvation knowing that it has been given, long ago and forever. But also, as Luther says in the Small Catechism, “that it may come also to us.” It is a good time to lay aside a hindrance or an obstacle to God’s steadfast love in our lives—a vain need or an old resentment; a futile desire or a destructive pattern; a cause of anger that no longer has any meaning. Make this prayer your own today.
Pray: for all who long to hear the Gospel; for all who need to be strengthened in faith; for all who cannot see God’s mercy and steadfast love; for all who doubt or struggle with their own salvation; for all who wait and all those needs on our own hearts.
Our Father, who art in heaven...
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Pastor Ben Dueholm