Saint Augustine of Hippo, Gerard Seghers (attr) (from here)

Psalm 6 New King James Version (NKJV)

A Prayer of Faith in Time of Distress

To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments. On [a]an eight-stringed harp. A Psalm of David.

O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger,
Nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure.
Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak;
O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled;
But You, O Lord—how long?

Return, O Lord, deliver me!
Oh, save me for Your mercies’ sake!
For in death there is no remembrance of You;
In the grave who will give You thanks?

I am weary with my groaning;
[b]All night I make my bed swim;
I drench my couch with my tears.
My eye wastes away because of grief;
It grows old because of all my enemies.

Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity;
For the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping.
The Lord has heard my supplication;
The Lord will receive my prayer.
10 Let all my enemies be ashamed and greatly troubled;
Let them turn back and be ashamed suddenly.

Psalm 6 is the first of the penitential psalms. What is a penitential psalm? Well, it is a psalm that helps us to express repentance.


feeling or expressing humble or regretful pain or sorrow for sins or offenses : repentant

David, the man who wrote this psalm, was a man beloved of God. He was also a king. Nevertheless, David was like us. David was a sinner. Unlike some, David mourned over his sins.

In The Treasury of David, Charles H. Spurgeon provides his commentary on Psalm 6. That includes a list of the six other penitential psalms.

Here how Spurgeon describes Psalm 6 overall.

DIVISION. You will observe that the Psalm is readily divided into two parts. First, there is the Psalmist’s plea in his great distress, reaching from the first to the end of the seventh verse. Then you have, from the eighth to the end, quite a different theme. The Psalmist has changed his note. He leaves the minor key, and betakes himself to sublimer strains. He tunes his note to the high key of confidence, and declares that God hath heard his prayer, and hath delivered him out of all his troubles. (from here)

How can we use such a psalm? Well, we have the example of Augustine of HippoR.C. Sproul, now deceased, described (here in a Renewing Your Mind broadcast) Augustine was one of the most influential theologians who ever lived. Sproul says Augustine spent his final days in bed reading the penitential psalms. Wikipedia’s article includes these details.

According to Possidius, Augustine spent his final days in prayer and repentance, requesting that the penitential Psalms of David be hung on his walls so that he could read them. (from here)

Whether we are haunted to wakefulness by a bad dream, rocked by dangerous experience, or lying on our death-bed, death is frightening. Augustine apparently found comfort in the penitential psalms, knowing that if we sincerely repent and ask for forgiveness our Lord is quick to forgive.

The Seven Penitential Psalms and the Songs of the Suffering Servant (usccb.org) provides a Catholic perspective. This article also discusses four poetic sections from the Book of Isaiah known as the Songs of the Suffering Servant.

11 thoughts on “A PRAYER ON PSALM 6

  1. Far too many misguided ones direct their anger toward our Creator, when fallacious corporate religion -not true religion from searching Scripture- is to blame. It was much angst over false teaching that motivated me to post “Upon this Rock – Using the Bible to prove the Bible”.

  2. David reveals his humanside and trials to confront temptations in this Psalm.

    He also reveal his faith and humility5 7 to seek forgiveness that wpithout asking shall never be received, in my opinion.

  3. I love this, Tom. The Psalms provide such a beautiful pattern for our prayers…and these Psalms are particularly powerful for all of us as we seek God’s forgiveness and also embrace God’s reassurance that in Christ we are forgiven. Excellent post, my wise friend! 🙂

  4. thank you, Tom, for such a powerful reminder of our fragility, failings and yet our very hope.
    Sadly for so many, when Death is knocking, that is when they /we see their own limitations and shrotcomings…no longer can they /we be the savior of self as foolishly was thought throughout most of life…the scales fall and the / we actually see what they/ we actually are…the created subject to and in need of the Creator.

      1. I’m begining what looks to be a good read Tom…The Cost of our Silence by David Fiorazi—I touched briefly on the book in my post today as I’m not even past the introduction yet—but you are right—sin and death go hand and in hand…it just takes some a lifetime to figure that out!

  5. Good stuff, Tom. Repentance is also a powerful weapon of spiritual warfare. Nothing confuses the enemy more then something like, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” It can be challenging mindset to have because in the world we are often about “winning” or fighting or going to battle. It’s kind of counter intuitive to just surrender all in times of trouble. But we are speaking of surrendering all to God, not to people.

    1. @IB

      I have wondered why Christians, why Jesus, are hated, but what if we don’t surrender to God? What is the choice? We surrender all those and all that we love to Satan, but the Deciever hides the truth of that choice.

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