LORD, Listen to My Righteous Plea

Scripture References

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Belgic Confession, Article 26 provides the foundation for all our praying: “We believe that we have no access to God except through the one and only Mediator and Intercessor ‘Jesus Christ the righteous,’ who therefore was made human, uniting together the divine and human natures, so that we human beings might have access to the divine Majesty. Otherwise we would have no access.” We offer our prayers, therefore, “only on the basis of the excellence and dignity of Jesus Christ, whose righteousness is ours by faith.” Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 46, Question and Answer 120 verifies this privilege when it says, “Through Christ God has become our Father, and…just as our parents do not refuse us the things of this life, even less will God our Father refuse to give us what we ask in faith.”

Additional Prayers

Optional spoken introduction for 888 or 889 (from Ps. 70:17)
Hasten, O God, to save me;
come quickly, LORD, to help me.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings.
I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.

God of unfailing love,
like David we cry out to you, knowing that you hear and answer prayer.
Our enemies are very real—around us and within us.
By the power of your Spirit, make your love revealed in Jesus more real to us each day.
We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Tune Information

E♭ Major
8.8.4 D

Hymn Story/Background

Psalm 17 asks God, the heavenly King and Judge, to protect his faithful servant from the unprovoked attacks of godless enemies. It appears that the enemies hope to profit from the psalmist's death or downfall, perhaps to fatten their purses with worldly wealth (v. 14), and they seem to have the power to bring him down (vv. 10-12). As in many psalms, it could be that the enemies attack the LORD's anointed with false accusations (v. 10), and the only recourse is to call for God's righteous judgment. The psalmist appeals to God to hear his just cause and declares trust in God's safekeeping.
James Calvin Ward composed ROSALIE MCMILLAN in 1984 for Psalm 17; the 1987 Psalter Hymnal Revision Committee, however, chose it as the setting for Psalm 56, which is versified in the same meter. Here, ROSALIE MCMILLAN is set to Psalm 17. 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.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Helen Ann (Brink) Otte Walter (b. Grand Rapids, MI, 1931) versified this psalm in 1982 for the Psalter Hymnal. She received her education at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and has worked as a teacher, proofreader, and librarian. She was a member of the Poets' Workshop that worked with the revision committee to prepare psalm versifications for the 1987 Psalter Hymnal. After her first husband died and she remarried, she remained active as a freelance writer, especially of children's stories and dramas, some of which have been published in Reformed Worship under the name Helen Walter.
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

James Calvin Ward (b. Belleville, IL, 1950) composed 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
— Bert Polman
Hymnary.org does not have a score for this hymn.