• The Bald Believer

What a Difference a Prayer Makes

A Devotional on Psalm 9:21-31



Psalm 109:21–31

21  But do thou for me, O God the Lord, for thy name’s sake:

Because thy mercy is good, deliver thou me.

22  For I am poor and needy,

And my heart is wounded within me.

23  I am gone like the shadow when it declineth:

I am tossed up and down as the locust.

24  My knees are weak through fasting;

And my flesh faileth of fatness.

25  I became also a reproach unto them:

When they looked upon me they shaked their heads.

26  Help me, O Lord my God:

O save me according to thy mercy:

27  That they may know that this is thy hand;

That thou, Lord, hast done it.

28  Let them curse, but bless thou:

When they arise, let them be ashamed; but let thy servant rejoice.

29  Let mine adversaries be clothed with shame,

And let them cover themselves with their own confusion, as with a mantle.

30  I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth;

Yea, I will praise him among the multitude.

31  For he shall stand at the right hand of the poor,

To save him from those that condemn his soul.


I have heard it said, “What a difference a day makes.” It has been said to strengthen the resolve of many a suffering person, to encourage them to hold on a little longer. A little time, a little distance, a look from another perspective may be all a troubled person needs.

I’m reminded of an old Jazz song by Dinah Washington that begins with these words,

“What a difference a day made
Twenty-four little hours
Brought the sun and the flowers
Where there used to be rain”

I agree that a little time can make a big difference and holding on a little longer can be excellent advice depending on what the hurting one is holding. I have a better observation, mine goes like this, “what a difference a prayer makes!”


What a difference a prayer makes!


Psalm 109 is the last of what is referred to as the imprecatory Psalms. These are the ones where the psalmist asks for judgment on his enemies. There are at least twenty four curses that David requests upon his enemies in this Psalm. I believe we might need a quick explanation concerning such a severe Psalm don’t you? Let me point out two things about this severe psalm. First, the Psalmist is being real, telling God what is actually on his heart not acting more spiritual. God doesn’t want a fake you, he wants the real you. He will convict and change you where appropriate but for now open up and give him an honest starting point. Secondly, David didn’t take vengeance into his own hands, he left it up to the Lord. I could say more but we would both get bored so let me go on to my point.


David is praying a prayer in this Psalm that starts sour but before he says amen, it turns sweet.


Verse 21 begins the obvious transition with these words, “But do thou for me, O God the Lord, for thy name’s sake:

Because thy mercy is good, deliver thou me.” The prayer starts as David focuses on his situation, asking God to not stand by silently, then seems to focus on his enemies but now it looks upward to the sovereign Lord. David was anything but poor and yet he recognized that he had nothing on which to truly depend so he says in verse 22, “for I am poor and needy”. What gives David strength in this recognition of poverty is the character of God who comes to the aid of those who can not help themselves and come to him. David knows that God “shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those that condemn his soul”(vs. 31). By the way, it is Satan that stands at the right hand of the evil doer in verse 6 of this Psalm but for the one that can confess their need the Lord stands at their right hand as an advocate (vs. 31, 1 Jn 1:9; 2:1-2). From sour to sweet, from perplexity to praise, what a difference a prayer makes, not just in the predicament but in the one praying.

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