Psalm 141

David has set his eyes on the LORD. He lifts his hands in prayer, watches his speech, and guards his heart.




A Psalm by David.


VERSE 1. LORD, I have called on you. Come to me quickly! Listen to my voice when I call to you.


VERSE 2. Let my prayer be set before you like incense; the lifting up of my hands like the evening sacrifice.

like incense. David envisions his own prayers rising up to the LORD like smoke rising from incense.

lift up my hands. Do you lift up your hands high when you pray? Most Pentecostals and Charismatics do. But strangely, few other Christians do, even though the Bible speaks of it as the normal way to pray:

Psalm 28:2. Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle.

Psalm 63:4. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.

Psalm 134:2. Lift up your hands [in] the sanctuary, and bless the LORD.

Psalm 141:2. Let my prayer be set before you like incense; the lifting up of my hands like the evening sacrifice.

1 Timothy 2:8.  I desire therefore that the men in every place pray, lifting up holy hands without anger and doubting.


VERSE 3. Set a watch, LORD, before my mouth. Keep the door of my lips.

my mouth . . . my lips. This is the prayer of those who ask God to help them control what they say. The tongue is like the rudder of a ship. It is small but powerful, and can get us into all sorts of trouble.

Sirach 28:13. Curse the whisperer and double-tongued: For he has destroyed many that were at peace.

James 3:4.  Behold, the ships also, though they are so big and are driven by fierce winds, are yet guided by a very small rudder, wherever the pilot desires.


VERSE 4. Don’t incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice deeds of wickedness with men who work iniquity. Don’t let me eat of their delicacies.

my heart. It is so important to have a heart that desires God. We keep careful watch over it so that we don’t become self-centered or evil.


VERSE 5. Let the righteous strike me, it is kindness; let him reprove me, it is like oil on the head; don’t let my head refuse it; Yet my prayer is always against evil deeds.


VERSE 6. Their judges are thrown down by the sides of the rock. They will hear my words, for they are well spoken.

by the sides of the rock. That is, evil rulers will be thrown down from cliffs.


VERSE 7. “As when one plows and breaks up the earth, our bones are scattered at the mouth of Sheol.”


VERSE 8. For my eyes are on you, LORD, the Lord. In you, I take refuge. Don’t leave my soul destitute.

my eyes are on you, LORD. David’s eyes are fixed on the Sovereign LORD. Even when life itself seems to fall apart, David is stubbornly centered upon the LORD God of Israel.

Are you committed to seeking God first, not only in the best of times, but also in the worst of times times?

Psalm 141:8. For my eyes are on you, LORD, the Lord. In you, I take refuge. Don’t leave my soul destitute.

Wisdom 7:11. All good things came to me with her, and innumerable riches are in her hands.

Sirach 51:21. My whole being was stirred to seek her; therefore I have made her my prize possession. (NAB translation)

Matthew 6:33. But seek first God’s Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well.

Luke 9:61. Another also said, “I want to follow you, Lord, but first allow me to say good-bye to those who are at my house.

Luke 12:31. But seek God’s Kingdom, and all these things will be added to you.


VERSE 9. Keep me from the snare which they have laid for me, from the traps of the workers of iniquity.

snares . . . traps. Evil people set snares for the righteous. They try to trap the righteous and bring them down.


VERSE 10. Let the wicked fall together into their own nets, while I pass by.

their own nets. David prays that he not fall into the traps set by the wicked, but that they themselves fall into their own traps. Ultimately, they will reap what they have sown. Here is a famous Bible verse about that:

There is a law of “sowing and reaping” throughout the Bible. We don’t know how to fully reconcile it with grace and mercy. Here are the verses we’ve found »


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.