Prayer for Guidance and Help
1 [b]Of David.
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul;
2 in you, O my God, I trust.
Do not let me be put to shame,
or permit my enemies to gloat over me.
3 No one who places his hope in you
will ever be put to shame,
but shame will be the lot of all
who break faith without justification.
4 [c]Make your ways known to me, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth and instruct me,
for you are God, my Savior,
and in you I hope all the day long.
6 Be mindful, O Lord, that mercy and kindness
have been yours from of old.
7 Remember not the sins of my youth
or my many transgressions,
but remember me in your kindness,
for the sake of your goodness, O Lord.
8 [d]Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore, he instructs sinners in his ways.
9 He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them the path to follow.
10 The ways of the Lord[e] are kindness and truth
for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
11 For the sake of your name,[f] O Lord,
pardon my iniquity, great though it be.
12 Who, then, is the man that fears the Lord?
He will be shown the path he should choose.[g]
13 He will enjoy lasting prosperity,
and his descendants will inherit the land.[h]
14 The Lord manifests himself to those who fear him,[i]
and he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are ever upon the Lord,
for he alone can free my feet from the snare.
16 [j]Turn to me and have mercy on me,
for I am alone and afflicted.
17 Relieve the anguish of my heart[k]
and free me from my distress.
18 Look upon my affliction and suffering,
and forgive all my sins.
19 Consider how numerous are my enemies,
and how fierce is their hatred of me.
20 Preserve my life and deliver me;
do not let me be put to shame,
for I seek refuge in you.
21 Let integrity and virtue preserve me,
for in you I place my hope.
22 Redeem[l] Israel, O God,
from all its troubles.
- Psalm 25:1 One admires the inner quality of the righteous man who addresses himself to God in this alphabetical psalm. He does not believe that he is totally innocent. He takes false steps and deserves his wretchedness and his isolation because of his sins. His confession testifies to much uprightness and honesty. It is the attitude of a humble person who knows he is loved by God and trusts in him; he hopes to receive pardon, counsel, and assistance from the Lord. The theme of this beautiful prayer is given in the cry of hope in verses 1-2, which the Liturgy puts on the lips of Christians at the beginning of Advent.
In praying this psalm, we can dwell on the fact that in his unfailing love God is pleased to lead us back to the right path when we go astray and to keep us on it. Christ gives us salvation through the remission of sins (see Lk 1:77-79).
- Psalm 25:1 Prayer for relief from distress and the ensuing slander from one’s foes.
- Psalm 25:4 Prayer for guidance and pardon. Your ways: that is, “your commandments” (see Pss 27:11; 86:11; 128:1; 143:8). Kindness: see note on Ps 6:5.
- Psalm 25:8 Trust in the Lord’s covenant blessings.
- Psalm 25:10 Ways of the Lord: God’s manner of dealing kindly with those who remain faithful to the covenant (see Pss 103:7; 138:5). See also Ps 85:10; Gen 32:10; Deut 33:9; and Paul’s magnificent summary in Rom 8:28: “We know that God makes all things work together for good for those who love him.”
- Psalm 25:11 Name: see note on Ps 5:12.
- Psalm 25:12 The path he should choose: or “the path chosen for him.”
- Psalm 25:13 Inherit the land: according to the teaching of the sages, God rewards the righteous here below by bestowing on them earthly goods that he withholds from the wicked (see Ps 37:9, 29; Prov 19:23). To this is added the returned exiles’ hope for the enjoyment of the land of their ancestors (see Isa 57:13; 60:21; 65:9).
- Psalm 25:14 The Lord manifests himself to those who fear him: some translations have “The Lord manifests his secret to those who fear him,” which is to be understood as divine intimacy and friendship (see Ps 73:28; Ex 33:11; Job 29:4; Prov 3:32; Jn 15:5) united with the understanding of divine things (see Jer 16:21; 31:34; Hos 6:6).
- Psalm 25:16 Renewed prayer for relief from distress and foes.
- Psalm 25:17 Heart: see note on Ps 4:8.
- Psalm 25:22 Concluding prayer on behalf of all God’s people. Redeem: i.e., “deliver.”