April 27: Psalm 141


April 27: Psalm 141

O Lord, I have cried to you

Long meter double 88.88 D                     Sweet Hour of Prayer, p. 119
Before the Throne of God Above

O Lord, my God, to Thee I cry; swift to my aid in mercy fly;

And when to Thee my cries ascend, in pity to my voice attend.

As fragrant incense on the air, so mount to heav’n my early prayer;

And let my hands uplifted be, as evening sacrifice to Thee.

Set, Lord, a watch my mouth before, and of my lips keep Thou the door;

Nor leave my sinful heart to stray where evil footsteps lead the way.

Let me not of the feast partake which wicked men delight to make;

Let righteous ones in mercy smite, in their reproofs I’ll take delight.

Let righteous lips my errors chide, like healing oil the accents glide;

If voice of faithful friend reprove, such smiting comes to me in love.

For them, when they are in distress, to God I will my prayer address;

Their judges cast on rocky ground, then sweet to them my words shall sound.

Around the graves our bones are left, as branches by the woodman cleft.

To Thee, Lord God, I lift my eyes; on Thee my helpless soul relies.

Preserve me from the secret net, the toils which wicked hands have set;

In their own snares, let sinners fall, while I by grace escape them all.

“O Lord, I call upon Thee; hasten to me! Give ear to my voice when I call to Thee! May my prayer be counted as incense before Thee; the lifting up of my hands as the evening offering.” Whenever we Christians raise our hands in prayer, as St. Paul tells us to do (1 Timothy 2:8), it is to symbolize that our prayer, our entire relationship to God, is founded in the power of the cross.  We are thereby proclaiming that we have no access to God except through the Cross of the Lord. St. Ambrose said, “What is it to lift up pure hands? Must you not, in your prayer, show to the nations the cross of the Lord?” The raising of our hands in prayer is acceptable to God only because of its relationship to that true evening sacrifice through which we draw near. (Reardon, p. 282)