Praying with the Saints

Stephen Shaffer

READ : Psalm 130

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord! (v. 1)

Right after I got married, I found this psalm difficult to pray. It was the honeymoon period, where everything seemed wonderful with the world and “crying out from the depths” was far from my mind. It was simply not what I was going through at the moment. Psalm 130 did not fit my present experience. Yet there have been other times in my life where I knew myself to be “crying out from the depths”—loss of a loved one, anxiety over getting a job, and even once when I lost my passport.

Psalm 130 was prayed by pilgrims on their way up to Jerusalem for one of the festivals. It opens with a cry to God from the depths but finds its resting place in waiting on the Lord who forgives and redeems. Whether or not the pilgrims were personally experiencing “depths,” they prayed this psalm. The plea is for God to be attentive—to hear and respond to the cry for help. If not for themselves, then for other pilgrims making the same journey.

Whatever our current experience, Psalm 130 is good to pray. When our life mirrors the depths of the psalmist, we pray this prayer to God for ourselves. When the psalm does not seem to fit, we can know that others around the world are living in the depths, and, like those ancient pilgrims, we can cry out to God for them as well.


O Lord, help me to pray boldly—for myself and for others.