I Need Your Help, O LORD My God

Scripture References

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Our songs and prayers include honesty before God in which we express the pain we experience over our own sins and failures, the difficulties in both our lives and others’ lives, and our laments at the suffering and brokenness that marks our world and our lives. We have assurance, says Belgic Confession, Article 26, that Christ, our intercessor, will hear us, “since he suffered, being tempted, he is also able to help those who are tempted.”


We are encouraged to approach the throne with boldness so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Belgic Confession, Article 26, based on Hebrews 4). “We grieve that the church…has become a broken communion in a broken world” (Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 40).

We also “lament that our abuse of creation has brought lasting damage to the world we have been given...” (Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 51). And we cry to God for those who suffer in our world, knowing “that God…is in a special way the God of the destitute, the poor and the wronged...” (Belhar Confession, Section 4).


I Need Your Help, O LORD My God

Additional Prayers

Loving God, help us when we have been betrayed
to look beyond hypocrisy and deceit to your throne of grace,
and there to lay our burdens down.
We trust in your covenant of unfailing love,
revealed to us in the betrayal, death, and resurrection of Jesus our Savior. Amen.
— Psalms for All Seasons (http://www.psalmsforallseasons.org)

A Prayer for the Anxious
O God, great and quiet source of peace, bring help for the anxious. They are wary, uncertain, strung tight, and they need your calming care. We ourselves need the same help. We cannot comfort ourselves. O God, great and quiet source of peace, bring help for the anxious, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.

I Need Your Help, O LORD My God

Tune Information

Meter D


Musical Suggestion

These two stanzas are drawn primarily from the opening and closing verses of the psalm. As such, they form a suitable frame for the reading of the psalm. The tune RESTING PLACE is associated with the hymn “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say,” a text that resonates well with the psalm. If the hymn is familiar to the congregation, consider having a soloist or choir sing the psalm stanzas to whatever tune the congregation associates with the hymn, with some or all of the psalm read between the stanzas. This can be followed by the reading of some words of Jesus, such as Matt. 11:28-30. The congregation can then respond by singing the assuring words of the hymn “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say.”
— Psalms for All Seasons (http://www.psalmsforallseasons.org)

I Need Your Help, O LORD My God

Hymn Story/Background

Psalm 55 evokes a situation such as David experienced at the time of Absalom's revolt: the city is in turmoil, danger lurks everywhere, false reports circulate among the masses, and who can be trusted is uncertain. In the midst of this confusion and danger, the psalmist pleads for God's help (st. 1) and dreams of escape to some desert refuge "far from the tempest and storm" (v. 8). He appeals to the LORD to frustrate the plans of the treacherous conspira­tors. The chief adversary is a friend and close associate who shared fellowship with the psalmist at the house of God, and the psalmist must face the unbearable pain of this friend's betrayal. (In David's case this could have been Ahithophel—2 Sam. 15:12. Christ experienced a similar betrayal by a close associate.) In singing this psalm we take refuge in God, who "will never let the righteous fall," and affirm that we will “trust in you (God).”
Christian Reformed Church minister Henry Vander composed RESTING PLACE, which first appeared in his privately published The Psalms, New Metrical Version, with Tunes New and Old (Hudsonville, MI, 1911). The tune was first set to Bonar's text in the New Christian Hymnal (1929).
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Helen Ann (Brink) Otte Walter (b. Grand Rapids, MI, 1931) versified this psalm in 1982 for the 1987 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

Martin Tel is the C. F. Seabrook Director of Music at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey. He conducts the seminary choirs, teaches courses in church music, and administers the music for the daily seminary worship services. He served as senior editor of Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship (2012) and the editor of the Psalms in Lift Up Your Hearts. His love for music began in a dairy barn in rural Washington State, where he heard his father belt out psalms and hymns while milking the cows. Martin earned degrees in church music and theology from Dordt College, the University of Notre Dame, Calvin Theological Seminary, and the University of Kansas. He has served as minister of music in Christian Reformed, Reformed Church in America, and Presbyterian congregations. With his wife, Sharilyn, he is raising three children in Princeton.
— Lift Up Your Hearts (http://www.liftupyourheartshymnal.org)

Composer Information

Orphaned at age three when his parents died of cholera, Henry Vander Werp (b. Bedum, Groningen, the Netherlands, 1846; d. Grand Rapids, MI, 1918) was raised by relatives. He trained to be a schoolteacher, did further studies in modern languages, and became a tutor to a wealthy family in Rotterdam. A member of the Dutch Seceder Church, he continued his studies at the theological seminary in Kampen and then took a pastorate in Beverwijk (1879-1881). After immigrating to the United States, Vander Werp served a Christian Reformed congregation in Noordeloos, Michigan (1882). Later he was pastor at Christian Reformed churches in Chicago, Cincinnati, South Dakota, and Michigan until his retirement in 1913. Vander Werp left a considerable body of writings in both Dutch and English, including poetry, editorials, many articles in the Christian Reformed periodicals De Wachter and The Banner, two catechism books, and children's stories. His privately published psalm book (see above) contained a number of his psalm tunes with texts from the 1909 draft of the United Presbyterian Psalter. He had hoped that the Christian Reformed Church would accept his book as its official English-language psalter because of its use of Genevan tunes, but the synod of 1914 decided instead to accept the United Presbyterian 1912 Psalter (with over four hundred tunes but virtually no Genevan tunes).
— Bert Polman
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