Bible Reading: Psalm 143
“And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies, and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am your servant” (Psalm 143:12)
Life is always full of ups and downs. Sometimes all is going really well. You’re on fire for God, full of passion, zeal, and purpose. You’re close to God, and You are at the battlefront of ministry living all out for Him. There, you smile to yourself and say, life is good.
However, other times, we get weary and lose heart in the monotony of rigorous daily routine. Days seem to pass, and the workload never seems to end. As you approach, the mountains seem to get higher and higher until you refuse to look at just how steep the climb will be. School, ministry, relationships, secret sins we fail to overcome, not mentioning the broken consequences of evil outside of us that just make life tough, they all add up leaving us wondering, “am I ever going to get through this?”.
Theologically, we know the answers. God is our refuge. He is sovereign and in control of all things. He works for the good of those who love Him. We know that part. Yet, it’s so hard to believe. We know we have to believe, and we do want to believe, yet we just can’t.
We come to God in prayer, but we don’t know what to say when we get there. Is God mad at me? Is He still listening to me? Does He even care about me?
Here are some points from David’s prayer:
Know who we are and what we deserve
Do not come to God in arrogance, thinking you deserve better. No matter what strikes us, regardless of how bad, how painful, remember how much we have rebelled against God. Remember we deserve Hell. Therefore, approach God’s throne in humility. Plea as David pleas for mercy, “enter not into judgement with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you” (Psalm 143:2).
Affirm God’s promises and character
Despite our sinful selves, do not approach God’s Throne in fear of judgement. Instead, as Hebrew 4:16 says, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Because our Holy God is also a loving and merciful God, hold firm to His promise He has made with us in blood.
In Christ Jesus, He has washed away our sin and guilt. We are clothed in His righteousness. And, this love for us was there before He created this world — those whom He loves He will hold faithfully to the end where we will be restored in glory.
David held on to these promises. He prayed, “in your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness” (v.1) “Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love for in you I trust” (v.8). Note how David prays these promises back to God at the beginning of His prayer and the end (v. 11-12). These promises encompass David’s prayer, and they are also the basis of ours. When we don’t know what to pray, pray God’s promises back to Him.
Tell out your soul
In v. 3-6, David pours out his heart to God. He tells God how he feels, what he is going through and what God has done in the past in His providence. Do not talk to God as if He is distant and far. Remember who our mediator is. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). God is there for us. He wants to listen to us. Pour out your soul to Him.
Ask to learn
Unsure of his circumstances and God’s plan for him at that moment, David humbly asks to learn God’s ways. He does not argue His case or opinions. He simply surrenders to learn and obey God’s plan. He prays, “make me know the way I should go” (v. 8), “teach me to do your will for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!” (v. 10).
Ask God to teach you His ways for your life; His specific day to day plan for you. God loves to work in the smallest detail, and He promises to do so for our good. Submit to His will and follow in obedience. Then we will see how He works the glories of His grace before our eyes.
Lord, thank You for the Psalms that teach us how to pray. Sometimes, I don’t know what to say. Not everything goes so smoothly in life, and many times I stray from You. Please forgive me, return me to Your path. Thank You that You are faithful and loving and always working even when I don’t notice. Please teach me Your ways. Shape me and discipline me so that Your glory may shine all the more in my life. Thank You, God. In Jesus’ name, amen.