Psalm 88 - Prayer in the midst of suffering
The PS 88 belong to Book III of the Book of PS 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 III encompasses Psalms 73 to 89 . The Psalm 88 is divided into 11 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 the 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 88 - Prayer in the midst of suffering
1 Song. Psalm of the sons of Korah. To the director. In chorus. Poem.
From Heman the Ezraite .
2 O Lord my God and savior,
in your presence I cry day and night.
3 May my prayer come before you,
incline your ear to my cry.
4 My soul is saturated with bitterness,
my days have reached the abyss of death.
5 I am numbered among those who go down to the grave;
I’m like a warrior with no strength left.
6 I am left among the dead,
like the dead who lie in the tomb.
These you no longer remember,
as they were separated from your hand.
7 Thou hast cast me into the depths of the pit,
into the darkness, into the depths.
8 Your indignation weighs upon me,
and with all your waves you oppress me.
9 Thou hast removed my acquaintances from me,
thou hast made me abominable to them;
I’m like a prisoner, unable to get out.
10 My eyesight went out of suffering.
Every day I cry out to you, Lord,
and stretch out my hands to you.
11 Do you do wonders for the dead?
Will the dead rise to praise you?
12 Is your mercy told in the tomb,
or your faithfulness in the place of perdition?
13 Will your wonders be known in darkness,
or your righteousness in the land of oblivion?
14 Therefore I come to you, Lord, and cry for help;
and in the morning my prayer is presented before you.
15 Why do you reject my soul, O Lord,
and hide your face from me?
16 Unfortunate for me, who I agonize from my youth;
from enduring your fears so much, I’m exhausted.
17 Thy indignation has passed over me,
Thy terrors have annihilated me.
18 Like waves they surround me all day long;
and all together fall on me.
19 You have alienated friends and companions from me;
my acquaintances are darkness.
Meaning and interpretation
The Psalm 88 is a single prayer of supplication. It describes at length and in detail the Psalmist’s punishments , which leave him at death’s door . In the end, he asks for God’s justice.
Death comes here with something frightening where the absence of God causes fear. In this Psalm it is possible to assess the feeling with which the Hebrew culture looked at the condition of the dead and the type of devalued life that was left for them in the Cheol (grave). There, they were far from God.
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
- Book I - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41
- Book II - 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72
- Book III - 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89
- Book IV - 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106
- Book V - 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150
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 .
- Book I - Psalms 1 to 41
- Book II - Psalms 42 to 72
- Book III - Psalms 73 to 89
- Book IV - Psalms 90 to 106
- Book V - Psalms 107 to 150
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 .
- Psalm 2 - God And His Anointed
- Psalm 3 - Certainty Of Divine Help Against Enemies
- Psalm 4 - Trust In God In Tightening Times
- Psalm 5 - Morning Prayer Against Enemies
- Psalm 6 - Supplication Of A Righteous One In Distress
- Psalm 7 - Prayer Of The Persecuted Righteous
- Psalm 8 - Hymn To The Creator Of Man
- Psalm 9 - God, Protector Of The Lowly
- Psalm 10 - Prayer For The Oppressed, Orphans And The Disadvantaged
- Psalm 11 - Trust Of The Righteous In The Equity Of The Lord
- Psalm 12 - Prayer Against The Wicked Who Despise The Faith
- Psalm 13 - Confident Pleading For God's Protection
- Psalm 14 - The Wicked And The People Of God
- Psalm 15 - In The House Of The Lord And The Moral Precepts
- Psalm 16 - God, Refuge, Life And Safety