Psalm 116 – Praise of God for His Help in Distress & A Pagan’s Prayer of Thanks

1 I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.

Paternoster
Any of a number of special beads occurring at regular intervals in a rosary, indicating that the Lord’s Prayer is to be recited (Oxford Dictionary).

The first beads were grooved pebbles, bones and teeth – made over 40,000 years ago – and had talismanic and symbolic connotations from the beginning.

Beads are among the earliest human ornaments and ostrich shell beads in Africa date to 10,000 BC.

Over the centuries various cultures have made beads from a variety of materials from stone and shells to clay.

Beads have always had a spiritual significance to Native Americans; neck medallions as early as 800 A.D. served as talismans against threat.

The English word bead derives from the Old English noun bede which means a prayer.

The exact origins of prayer beads remain uncertain, but their earliest use probably traces to Hindu prayers in India.

The number of beads also vary depending on the different religions, Islamic prayer beads Tesbih usually have either ninety nine or thirty three beads, Buddhists and Hindu use Japa Mala usually consisting 27 bead malas.

Sikhs use a Mala with 108 beads. Greek komboloi has an odd number of beads usually one more than a multiple of four.

As mentioned above, the Roman Catholics use the Rosary with 54 beads whereas Eastern Orthodox Christians use rosary with 100 knots, although prayer ropes with 50 or 33 knots can also be used.

You can purchase this rosary on line but get it now because they are having a 20% off deal.

You can even get it in sterling for $260.80.

What a deal and wouldn’t that look nice as you walk into hell wearing that?

Jesus is explicit in how to pray, and it is not with beads or anything, nor are we to do it in public, but do it silently (Matt 6:6).

2 Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.

3 The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.

4 Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.

5 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.

6 The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me.

7 Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.

8 For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.

9 I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.

10 I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted:

11 I said in my haste, All men are liars.

Ancient man prayed to their gods. Their pleas and offerings are documented in the hieroglyphs that adorn the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs, in the carvings and inscriptions left for us to read by the philosophers and teachers of ancient Greece and Rome.

Later on, as Christianity moved in and replaced many of the old pagan cultures, Irish monks wrote down stories, illuminating their manuscripts with vivid and colorful artwork.

The Old Norse people didn’t seem to use prayer beads but many Modern Neopagans enjoy using them.

Still today people pray to the pagan gods and goddesses of old, or to newer ones, such as Vesta or Brighid (guardians of the earth).

12 What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?

13 I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.

14 I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people.

15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

16 O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds.

17 I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.

18 I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people,

19 In the courts of the LORD’S house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD.

All nations are called upon to praise God for His mercy and truth.  Learning to experience the Lord as our rest by calling upon His name in the midst of death environments in order that the church might be supplied with life.

A Pagan’s Prayer of Thanks 

Many Biblical passages are in form similar to pagan texts, but the formal similarity only makes the differences in content more apparent.  An Akkadian psalm from Ugarit (referred to by scholars as Ugartica 5.162) is outwardly similar to Biblical psalms of thanksgiving, such as Ps 86 or 116.

The Pope John Paul II reads the Latin Canon of the Mass of the feast of the saints Peter and Paul,

June 29th 1985 in the Saint Peter Basilica, up to the acclamations.

Then he chants the Pater Noster.

The Catholics are famous for putting other things before God.

View video here.

Like the writer of Ps 116:3, the Akkadian psalmist described himself as being at death’s door (probably due to illness) and vividly portrayed how he was wasting away, unable to eat anything but his own tears (see 42:3).

Like Ps 116:8 or Jonah 2, the Akkadian poet ultimately celebrated the fact that his god had snatched him from the grave.

What is distinctive, however, is the manner in which the Akkadian psalmist sought help from his god via magic and ritual.  He had surrounded himself by omen takers, who looked for favorable signs from incense clouds and the entrails of lambs.

He depicted his brothers as having been drenched in blood and described them as being like possessed men (they practiced self-mutilation in an attempt to compel their god to act (see 1 Kgs 18:28-29). 

In contrast, although the Biblical psalmist spoke of making a sacrifice of thanksgiving (Ps 116:17), there is no implication of manipulation of divine power through magic, nor is there the sense of frantic desperation that pervades the Akkadian text.

The Biblical psalmist could even make the astonishing and profound statement, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” (v 15).