56. O God, Be Merciful to Me

Text Information
First Line: O God, be merciful to me
Title: O God, Be Merciful to Me
Versifier: Helen Otte (1986)
Meter: 884 D
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Topic: Enemies & Persecution; New Year - Old Year; Profession of Faith (1 more...)
Copyright: Text © 1987, CRC Publications
Tune Information
Composer: James Ward (1984)
Meter: 884 D
Key: E♭ Major
Copyright: Tune © 1987, Music Anno Domini (A.D.). All rights reserved. Used by permisson.

Text Information:

A prayer for deliverance from enemies who conspire to destroy through slander and defamation.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 1-2
st. 2 = vv. 3-4
st. 3 = vv. 5-7
st. 4 = vv. 8-11
st. 5 = vv. 12-13

The psalmist is under such threats from enemies that he is in mortal danger. But because the enemies' weapons are defamation and slander, there is no human court of appeal to which he can plead his case. So the psalmist appeals to God for deliverance. The psalmist frames this prayer with an appeal to God (st. 1) and a confession of assurance (st. 5). An inner frame confesses confident trust that God will preserve the psalmist against the treachery of mortals (vv. 3-4, 10-11; st. 2,4). And at the prayer's center the psalmist asks God to bring down the enemies and to respond to this lament (st. 3-4). Helen Qtte (PHH 17) versified this psalm in 1986 for the Psalter Hymnal.

Liturgical Use:
When the church is under attack by worldly attempts to discredit its ministry.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

James Calvin Ward (b. Belleville, IL, 1950) composed ROSALIE MCMILLAN in 1984 for Psalm 17; the Psalter Hymnal Revision Committee, however, chose it as the setting for Psalm 56, which is versified in the same meter. Ward named the tune for his mother, whose Covenanter heritage in the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America influenced his love for the psalms. This tune consists of two long lines with identical rhythmic patterns. The simple harmony invites four-part singing.

Ward received a BA in music from Covenant College, Lookout Mountain, Georgia, and a Masters in Jazz from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. From 1973 to 1975 he worked as a campus intern and musician with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, then codirected the progressive jazz group "Elan" in Pittsburgh until 1978. After working with Lamb and Lion Records (Pat Boone/Benson) and Greentree Records, Ward began working independently; he currently tours North America annually as a solo performer, recording artist, and songwriter. He also serves as director of music at New City Fellowship Presbyterian Church, Chattanooga, Tennessee. Among the recordings Ward has released are Mourning to Dancing (1980), Faith Takes a Vision (1983), Good Advice (1985), and Over All the World (1990). A number of his songs have been arranged as choral anthems

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

MIDI file: MIDI Preview
(Faith Alive Christian Resources)
More media are available on the tune authority page.

Suggestions or corrections? Contact us