The faint heart is often insomniac. What is it about the 3:00 a.m. hour, so full of worries, fears, and untimely wakefulness? As though on schedule, eyes open and the faint heart races. Life’s shadows loom taller and more menacing than usual. Improbable fears seem perfectly plausible. Things that will shrink into proportion in the light of day take the shape of lethal threats and impassable walls. The sixty-first psalm relieves us of at least one of our disabling fears: that we cannot pray because our heart is faint.
From the end of the earth I call to you, when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I; for you are my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. (Psalms 61:2–3 NRSV)
We fearful and trembling insomniacs are shepherded into a place where it is safe at least to cry out to the Lord for peace, for safety, for calm. YHWH does not sneer and turn away because our condition is insufficiently dignified. At least the praying poet who has left his pen’s work to us in this psalm hopes that this is so, while others of this anthology of prayers reassure us that his hope will be met with reality, his prayer with a listening ear. YHWH makes himself available precisely to the faint of heart. Strength may come with the daylight, but it is not necessary here, not now, not at this frightening 3:00 hour. We are weak, but we are heard.