O LORD, I Call for Help by Day

O LORD, I call for help by day

Versifier: Stanley M. Wiersma (1982)
Published in 1 hymnal

Audio files: MIDI
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Versifier: Stanley M. Wiersma

Pseudonym: Sietze Buning ********** Stanley Marvin Wiersma (b. Orange City, IA, 1930; d. Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 1986) was a poet and professor of English at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, from 1959 until his sudden death in 1986. He attended Calvin as an under­graduate and received a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1959. His love for the Genevan psalms is reflected in the two books of poetry for which he is most widely known: Purpaleanie and Other Permutations (1978) and Style and Class (1982), both written under the pseudonym Sietze Buning. He also wrote More Than the Ear Discovers: God in the Plays of Christopher Fry and translated many Dutch poems and hymn texts into English, including the children's hymns publ… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: O LORD, I call for help by day
Title: O LORD, I Call for Help by Day
Versifier: Stanley M. Wiersma (1982)
Meter: 8.8.8
Language: English
Copyright: Text and harmonization © 1987, CRC Publications


A cry from the depths for deliverance from death.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 1-2
st. 2 = vv. 3-6
st. 3 = vv. 7-8a
st. 4 = vv. 8b-9
st. 5 = vv. 10-12
st. 6 = vv. 14b-16
st. 7 = vv. 17-18
st. 8 = vv. 13-14a

Having lived an entire life in the shadow of the grave (v. 15), the psalmist cries out to God (st. 1, 6) from the brink of death (st. 2). Like Job, who was shown the back of God's hand for reasons unknown to him, the psalmist has experienced only unrelenting and harsh troubles, so that even friends and companions have withdrawn (st. 3). Held helpless in death's grip, the psalmist lifts hands to God (st. 4) and laments that in the realm of the dead there is no escape from death and no interaction with God (st. 5). Only those who have known such suffering and abandonment can call darkness their "closest friend" (st. 7). Still–and this is the one gleam of light in the darkness–they (and all of us in intercession) can call on the LORD, "the God who saves" (v. 1). Again like Job, who cried to the LORD, who was shown only trouble, and who was put "in the darkest depths" (v. 8), the psalmist ends in faith, trusting in the LORD, the only Savior from death. Stanley Wiersma (PHH 25) versified this darkest of all the psalms in 1982 for the Psalter Hymnal.

Liturgical Use:
Good Friday; as a prayer for those who are sick, especially those who suffer from a life-threatening illness.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook



VERGEEF, O HEER, composed by Gerben Baaij (b. Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 1929), was first published in the Dutch hymnal Liedboek voor de Kerken (1973) as a setting for a translation of John Greenleaf Whittier's "Forgive, O Lord, Our Severing Ways." Baaij Studied organ, voice, and composition at the…

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Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #88

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