It is good to pray scriptures as we intercede for loved ones, as it takes us out of what can become almost “rote” repetition of requests, and substitutes something fresh and pertinent from God’s word instead. Psalm 17:8 makes such a good intercessory prayer. David actually prays it for himself: “Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings.” It is a beautiful prayer even on the surface, but it becomes even more poignant when you dig deeper:
The Hebrew for “apple” of Your eye is literally “pupil”: “Keep them as the ‘pupil’ of Your eye.” One might not think that to be as poetic as our modern phrase “apple of your eye”, but the venerable scholars Keil & Delitzsch shed some more light on the expression. “Pupil of Your eye” here refers to what the ancients would call “‘the little man of the eye’ … because a picture in miniature of one’s self is seen, as in a glass, when looking into another person’s eye.” (K/D Psalms, p. 148) The Hebrew word “bath”, or “daughter” here, means it is very literally, “the DAUGHTER” or “little girl” of Your eye — picturing the attention that a great patriarch might give his favorite daughter who was his delight: her little form in miniature would always be in the pupil of his eye!
The point of the request, of course, is that God’s attention would be so fixed on the person, that their reflection would be kept in His very eye at all times. It is asking for them to be held in God’s attention, His eye’s focus, and thus His protection and blessing, always.
Then the expression “hide in the shadow of Your wings” refers to how a bird will hide its young under its wings, yet another beautiful expression of love and protection and fellowship.
What a great prayer to pray for your loved ones this Monday (or any day!): “Keep them as the ‘apple’ … the ‘pupil’ … the ‘little daughter’ that reflects in Your eye … and hide them under the shadow of Your wings”!