Psalm 102 - Prayer to God of the Afflicted




[New International Version] Psalm 102 belongs to Book IV of the Book of Psalms. It refers to the eternity of God and expresses the experiences and concerns of both an individual and all people.

The PS 102 belong to Book IV Book of Ps , which is composed of a collection of texts 150 arranged by 5 poetry books. The Book of Psalms, for its wisdom and basic principles of human action , is considered the heart of the Old Testament. Book IV encompasses Psalms 90 to 106 . Psalm 102 is divided into 29 Verses.

The Psalms are poems-prayers addressed to God, being the privileged way to address and speak to Him. These prayers represent human experiences and religious conscience . They portray the common man , with his faults, insecurities, fears and hopes and, even today, we can identify with the Psalmist and draw inspiration from these texts to pray and plead with God when we feel lost and anguished or to express our gratitude for some blessing received.

“There are enemies or friends, there is life or death, health or illness, pain or joy and, most of the time, there are no changes or gradations. Words are like stones and poetry like boulders carved by chisel”; “The Psalms are a bit like mountain paths, simple, especially when walking on snow, but they lead to the peaks; they are paths toward the peaks of meeting the Lord.” - Carlo Maria Martini, Cardinal of Milan

Psalm 102 - Prayer to God of the Afflicted

1 The  prayer of a distressed man who, fainting, brought his lamentation before the Lord.

2  Lord, hear my prayer,
and let my cry come to you!

3  Do not hide your face from me
in the day when I am in distress.

Incline your ear to me;
the day I scream, answer me quickly!

4  For my days are gone like smoke,
and my bones burn like a brazier.

5  Like cut grass, my heart is parched;
I even forget to eat my bread.

6  From so much screaming and moaning,
my bones stuck to my flesh.

7  I am like a desert owl,
I am like an owl of the ruins.

8  I can’t sleep so I’m
like a lonely bird on the roof.

9  My enemies insult me all day long,
those who praised me curse me.

10  Instead of bread I have been eating ashes;
and I mix my drink with tears.

11  It was because of your indignation and your fury,
for you took me high and then threw me away.

12  My days are like a long shadow,
and I’m drying up like grass.

13  But you, O Lord, remain forever,
and your memory to all generations.

14  Arise and have pity on Zion;
it’s time to forgive him, the time has come.

15  Your servants are fond of their stones
and pity their ruins.

16  The peoples shall fear the name of the LORD,
and the kings of the earth your glory.

17  When the Lord has rebuilt Zion
and is manifested in her glory,

18 he will  turn to the poor man’s prayer
and will not despise his supplications.

19  Let this be written for the generation to come,
and those who are yet to be born will praise the Lord.

20  For the LORD beholds from the height of his sanctuary,
from the heavens he fixed his eyes on the earth,

21  to hear the groans of the prisoners
and open the doors to those who are condemned to die;

22  to proclaim in Zion the name of the Lord
and his praise in Jerusalem,

23  when peoples and kingdoms come
together to serve the Lord together.

24  He exhausted my strength on the way
and shortened my days.

25  And I said, “Don’t take me, my God, in the middle of my days!”
Your years last through all generations.

26  In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.

27  They shall perish, but You shall remain;
like a fabric, all wear out.
How to change your dress You will change them and they will disappear.

28  But thou art the same;
your years will not end.

29  The children of your servants will have a place to live,
and their descendants will stand before you.

Meaning and interpretation

The Psalm 102 is a single prayer of petition in the spirit of penance. However, Verses 13-23 represent a collective entreaty concerned with the fate of Zion. Thus, this Psalm can represent both the experiences and concerns of an individual and those of the entire people . It brings together, like many other Psalms, multiple meanings and times in Israel’s history.

The serious disease that affects the bones is a very expressive metaphor for the extreme suffering to which the Psalmist is subjected. The eternity of God is a reference that in the biblical man’s conscience serves as a comparison and contrast with the shortness of human life. This comparative look also seems to imply some desire to benefit or participate in this eternity.

The Psalms of Supplication are very present in the Book of Psalms. They speak of human frailty and the most basic feelings of your mortal condition. Times of peace and plenty contrast with war and individual or community destruction. The Psalmist pleads for God’s help and asks him to end his situation of affliction , ending with the certainty of having been heard .

In spiritual practice, the supplication and request to God reflects a lot the meaning of prayer, being the privileged way to establish contact and raise the voice to the Divine. In numerous Psalms, supplication seems to be the most immediate motivation and the greatest concern. When turning to God, the speaker / Psalmist finds tenderness, justice, compassion, reconciliation, purification, in short, peace itself.

The narratives and feelings involved in these prayers are varied and basic; affect humanity over the millennia, and are still current today. They reflect multiple interior , individual and collective experiences, and the relationship between people and peoples. They address topics such as the deadly threat of disease, persecution, aging, violence, war, betrayal, loneliness, enemy aggression and how these feelings alter consciousness we have of ourselves, of our relationship with others and with God.

Situations that prompt supplication can be bitter and desperate , but the Psalms generally express a state of mind of trust and end in thanksgiving . The Psalmist cries out to God for his help and forgiveness in a profound expression of limitless trust in divine compassion and justice. Even the cry of the Psalmist is already a fighting speech, change will, of inner transformation, confidence and hope for a free future evil, the suffering and the wicked .

The Psalms of Supplication they are classified as individual supplication and collective supplication. Those of Individual Supplication comprise Psalm 3; 5-7; 13; 17; 22; 26; 27; 28; 31; 35; 39; 42-43; 51; 54-57; 59; 61; 63; 64; 69-71; 88; 102; 109; 120; 130; 140-143. and those of  Collective Supplication Ps 12; 44; 58; 60; 74; 80; 83; 85; 90; 94; 108; 123; 127.

The Book of Psalms

The Joy and Happiness of the Righteous in Communion with God

The Psalms are prayer-poems addressed to God, being the privileged way to address and speak to Him. Depicting the common man , with his failures, insecurities, fears and hopes, we can still identify with the Psalmist and be inspired today in Psalms to make prayers and supplications to God in times of trouble or express our gratitude for some blessing received.

The Psalms, despite being written in Antiquity, still move , sensitize , awaken feelings , inspire and enchant . In them, we can identify anguish and joy , deeply human feelings, praises, supplications, teachings of reflection on spiritual wisdom and prophetic words.

Written for different situations , some Psalms are intimate, revealing the author’s personal relationship with God; others provide guidelines and advice for life, others are compositions for specific liturgical events such as rituals and pilgrimages.

The Book of Psalms is composed of a collection of 150 poetic texts and is divided into five parts, called Psalm Books or Booklets. Each Book closes with short hymns of praise to God . The division into five parts was considered to correspond to the five books of Moses and it is assumed that each passage in the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible, called Torah by the Jews) was read in parallel with the corresponding Psalm. Its main forms are lamentation , supplication , praise and gratitude .

The Power of Prayer in Dialogue with the Divine

The Psalms elevate our thoughts to the Divine and prayer is the power of the word . Prayer is the language of faith. Any thought, word or image addressed to God is called prayer . It is through it that we come into contact with our God within and, therefore, it is so powerful in transforming life . Prayer can produce miracles , turn dreams into reality, give us hope for change , harmony and peace with ourselves and the world.

Each Psalm has an intention that helps us meditate and walk with our God . For many theologians, the Book of Psalms has a prophetic or messianic tone as its verses refer to the coming of Christ into the world of men to guide them through the uncertainty and doubts of Human existence.

The prayer has the power to call the Spiritual Universe full mode, honest, sincere, conscious, for the purpose of spiritual self-protection, family protection and those who are dear to us, to have peace of mind, spiritual and physical, for prosperity and success, to protect health and relationships, to ward off negative energies and, above all, to connect us to something bigger than ourselves. From this peace , well-being, hope and goodness in front of everyone and everything result.

The faith can change our lives. It gives us tranquility and spiritual strength to face challenges. It helps us to meditate on our mission in life and to create a balanced and healthy environment for ourselves and those we love. When you pray, fill your heart with love and determination . The Psalms will guide you on a path of peace and communion with the higher energy.