What are some of the most powerful prayers in the Bible? They are the Psalms. Here is one from Psalm 91 that is one of the most desperate cries for protection that we can pray back to God.
Psalm 91 A Prayer for Protection
This psalm appears to be a prayer for protection for God’s people against the terrors and the ever-present dangers that surround God’s people daily but could also apply to missionaries who are overseas and fighting against spiritual attacks from the enemies, it could be a prayer that our modern day military veteran could utter in context with the language descriptive of present day settings, it could be about a person or army that is set against insurmountable odds who is about to enter battle, or it might be someone who is undergoing several trials in their life and having spiritual and human forces pressuring them to give up in doubt and fear or maybe even someone who is battling cancer or go into surgery. Some of the terrors are ambiguous leaving room for every Christian to apply it in their everyday struggles against their three enemies; the flesh, the world, and the Enemy. The conclusion is that nothing can thwart the child or children of God collectively, even when their eyes lie to them and the situation seems exceedingly hopeless because in the improbable our God does the impossible.
1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
The shelter of God is to be under His shadow, like Israel was in the desert wilderness of the cloud of God’s glory protecting or sheltering them from the scorching sun that would normally kill any human but He is our refuge (to run to) and our fortress (against all spiritual and human attacks) and in God we do trust because “He who dwells” with the Most High is in the most secure of all places on earth.
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
The Psalmist says here that He will “deliver” from the “snare” of the fowler or trapper. The fowler is an old English word for someone who hunts for game and setting a snare is really a trap for animals. The history of Christianity is full of people who set traps to imprison or kill them as part of the widespread persecution that has occurred for the last 2,000 years. Who is the “he” who “will deliver?” It is God Himself and He will deliver us from the traps and persecution hunters but also from pestilence, which is disease. He isn’t promising to deliver us from all persecution but He’ll cover us “with His pinions.” The pinions of an eagle, which is often the way God describes Himself, is the terminal, or end sections of the eagle’s wings but includes the full wing; the carpus, metacarpus, and the phalanges. That places the believer “under His wings” where there is refuge. God’s faithfulness is as a shield (a lifesaver in battles of the mind, flesh, and the Enemy). The “buckler” is a smaller shield that fits around an arm that is the one used for fighting, showing that while He protects us, He also fights for us.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
During the nighttime is the time I must honestly admit that I have the greatest doubts…whether they be in the middle of the night or in my dreams or in a dark night of the soul. No arrow that is aimed at me, like the fiery darts of the enemy (Eph 6:16) nor any disease or pestilence that comes in the darkness and not even that which comes at noon can, in the end, sleigh me.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.
Here is descriptive language for the armies of Israel or the U.S. Military and they have no problem identifying with this language because thousands have fallen and tens of thousands on both their right side and their left, but the child of God is not kept from God even by death (Rom 8:36-39).
9 Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge—
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.
We have no fear of death for in even in death we’ll be present with the Lord (2 Cor 5:8) but those who do not have the Most High must fear both the death of the body and soul (Luke 12:5). In contrast, making the Lord our dwelling place ensures no plagues like consumed Egypt.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
Those who are God’s children have the privilege of having God’s angels given charge or orders to protect them (Luke 4:10) and will minster to those who are His saints (Heb 1:14) and if by God’s design, can save us from a deathly fall or injury.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
The number of miracles throughout Christianity’s history is remarkable in the numbers of incidents and the impossible escapes from death. I believe when we get to the Kingdom of Heaven we will be shocked at the number of times that we have escaped death or serious injury without ever knowing about it in this life. In verse 14, God is now the One Who is speaking to the psalmist and to us by extension as He says “because he (or she) holds fast to me (God) in love, I, God, will deliver him or her, and it is I, God, who will protect him or her. Why? Because he or she knows my name and remember that Jesus said that My sheep know my voice and listen to my voice (John 10:14, 27). Now, put your name in verse 14 as “Because [Sarah or Matthew] holds fast to me in love, I will deliver [Sarah or Matthew]; I will protect [Sarah or Matthew] because he/she knows my name.” Try putting a personal touch on all Scripture where it says he or she, you or they and put your own name in it. It makes Scripture come alive!
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
The conclusion is that whenever the children of God are in desperate situations, they can call on Him and know that He “will answer” them. In their times of great trouble there will be a Great Rescuer, the Redeemer. God Himself not only rescues them but will honor them with “long life” (how about eternal life!) and then God will satisfy them and then show them His salvation. We who have been born again have seen Who His salvation is and that is Jesus Christ Himself. The next time you feel you are in an impossible situation, turn to Psalm 91 and cry out to God, He will hear and answer you, and pray this back to God.
Another Reading on Patheos to Check Out: What Did Jesus Really Look Like: A Look at the Bible Facts
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon