Exclamation Point Pleas

Hear my prayer, O LORD; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness! Answer me quickly, O LORD! My spirit fails! Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Deliver me from my enemies, O LORD! I have fled to you for refuge. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground! For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life! In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble! And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies, and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am your servant.” Psalm 143:1,7-12

“In almost all situations that do not involve immediate physical danger or great surprise, you should think twice before using an exclamation mark. If you have thought twice and the exclamation mark is still there, think about it three times, or however many times it takes until you delete it.”  ~Howard Mittelmark, How Not to Write a Novel

With the exclamation mark’s overuse and bad publicity these days, it piques my delight to see so many in this one psalm. David’s prayer is indeed exclamatory to the God he knows and trusts. His pleas are emphatic, urgent, passionate, and desperate. His admissions of faith, praise, dependence, and God’s ownership are sincere, bold, and heart-felt. I imagine a ruddy man-king on his knees, heavy with burden, hearty with breath, hands wrenched in fists, then open and reaching, wrestling with his Sovereign, pouring out his cries to the point of crescendo, then resolving in perfect peace, hushed  and confident in what God’s steadfast love would accomplish, fully submitted, surrendered. Amen.


Do I pray with such fervor? Have I grown lazy or complacent with comfy posture, repetition, recitation of lists, wandering eyes? When I go to prayer, do I tuck away and kneel and agonize and go deep to be heard by my Father in secret, or do I talk-walk along, eyes opened, distracted by many things? If He is the accessible Almighty Who reigns over all, is He not worthy of my attention, vulnerability, and reliance? (Matthew 6:5-13)

“What a Friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

“Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged,
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness,
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

“Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer;
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer;
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.”  ~ Joseph Scriven (1819-1886)

LORD, keep me earnestly praying, for you are my God!


One thought on “Exclamation Point Pleas”

  1. I am so guilty on the exclamation point !! 🤗What a balm this is to my soul right now. Even the last verse of “what a friend we have in Jesus”. I am thankful you are my friend!



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