A Life Of Integrity (Psalm 26)

PSALM 26

[Psa 26:1-12 NKJV] 1 [A Psalm] of David. Vindicate me, O LORD, For I have walked in my integrity. I have also trusted in the LORD; I shall not slip. 2 Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart. 3 For Your lovingkindness [is] before my eyes, And I have walked in Your truth. 4 I have not sat with idolatrous mortals, Nor will I go in with hypocrites. 5 I have hated the assembly of evildoers, And will not sit with the wicked. 6 I will wash my hands in innocence; So I will go about Your altar, O LORD, 7 That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, And tell of all Your wondrous works. 8 LORD, I have loved the habitation of Your house, And the place where Your glory dwells. 9 Do not gather my soul with sinners, Nor my life with bloodthirsty men, 10 In whose hands [is] a sinister scheme, And whose right hand is full of bribes. 11 But as for me, I will walk in my integrity; Redeem me and be merciful to me. 12 My foot stands in an even place; In the congregations I will bless the LORD.

PSALM 26:1-11, NKJV

A LIFE OF INTEGRITY

When I was in college, there was a soda machine that had a broken part. If you put your money in and put your hand in to hold open a flap, you could get two soda’s for the price of one. I don’t know who first discovered the secret to the soda machine but it presented an ethical dilemma for all of us religion students down the hill. Do you take the extra soda as a blessing from God? Do you give it to someone else? Do you leave it for the vendor? Do you call a number on the machine and let someone know and risk upsetting your neighbors who were enjoying the deal? As we were debating the issue, one of the guys spoke up and said, “I’ll never sell my integrity for 50 cents” (the going rate for a can of soda back then!). That stuck with me.

I’m sure that there are lots of folks who were stealing 50 cent drinks that if they were given an opportunity to steal $50,000 would turn it down. But then again the person who steals $50,000 probably didn’t start out at $50,000. This is where integrity matters most, the small stuff. You can’t be a person of integrity in the big things only.

At this point in his life, David confesses his integrity. He leans on God and counts the blessings that integrity has brought to his life. He is careful with his friendships and those who influence him.

Of course we know the rest of the story. David takes a 50 cent peak at Bathsheba from his rooftop that leads him to bigger compromises and almost costs him his entire kingship before it’s all over! Integrity is one of those things that can be ruined in an instant and over an inconsequential matter.

PRAYER

Father, I so desperately want and need to be a man of integrity. For the sake of my family I need to walk in holiness. Examine my life for compromises. Establish holy friendships. Keep me from the desire to please others to the point that it would compromise my integrity. Let me speak the truth with love to those you have called me to serve. Let me not hold it back, but lovingly and persuasively share your grace. I want to walk with complete integrity before you. I pray that you keep me from temptation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

A Plea For Deliverance and Forgiveness (Psalm 25)

PSALM 25

1 [A Psalm] of David. To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul. 2 O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me. … 6 Remember, O LORD, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses, For they [are] from of old. 7 Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; According to Your mercy remember me, For Your goodness’ sake, O LORD. 8 Good and upright [is] the LORD; Therefore He teaches sinners in the way. 9 The humble He guides in justice, And the humble He teaches His way. 10 All the paths of the LORD [are] mercy and truth, To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies. 11 For Your name’s sake, O LORD, Pardon my iniquity, for it [is] great. … 18 Look on my affliction and my pain, And forgive all my sins.

PSALM 25:1-2, 6-11, 18

A PLEA FOR DELIVERANCE AND FORGIVENESS

Psalm 25 is written as an acrostic through the Hebrew Alphabet. It give it poetical flair as well as more opportunity to be memorized, you would know if you forgot a verse. 

It was meant to be used by individuals. Pay attention to all of the personal pronouns, I, Me, and My occur 33 times throughout the Psalm. When we battle different song styles, one of the key criticisms of modern worship lyrics is the “me” centeredness of it all. While we should be careful to not make a song about “Me.” Songs do come from a very personal place. There is both an individual and corporate component to this psalm.

This morning as I read I couldn’t help but think of the mercy and grace of God. It’s good to ponder that He “teaches sinners in the way,” and, “the humble he guides in justice.” How incredible is the LORD that He allows us to call out to Him as individuals. How great it is that when we humble ourselves, He hears our prayers. How marvelous that even more than hearing our cries for forgiveness He leads us in His way!

I was provoked to examen my life again for area’s of sin. To see if there where places in my life where I may have grown callous. I was provoked to pick up an attitude of gentle submission to the Lord to ask him for direct my steps. I confessed my sins.

PRAYER

Father, search my heart. Examine my life. Look into my inner thoughts. Whatever isn’t of you; Whatever hinders me from understanding and receiving your grace; I pray that you remove it. I don’t want to have anything between you and me. Teach me to walk in your way. Forgive me of my sins. Prove me holy by the blood of Christ (not my own merit, for I have not merited anything). Let me walk in humility and righteousness. May my life be pleasing to you! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

The King Is Coming (Psalm 24)

PSALM 24

1 A Psalm of David. The earth [is] the LORD’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein. 2 For He has founded it upon the seas, And established it upon the waters. 3 Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully. 5 He shall receive blessing from the LORD, And righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6 This [is] Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face. Selah 7 Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. 8 Who [is] this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle. 9 Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He [is] the King of glory. Selah

Psalm 24:1-10, NKJV

THE KING IS COMING

Jesus is coming! Are you ready? He will be here any moment now! Are you preparing the way? Let’s fill in the pot holes! Let’s knock down the mounds, let’s level the ground! Are we ready? Is my life like it should be? 

This is a Psalm that was probably written as part of a ceremony of bringing in the Ark of the Covenant to the Tabernacle in Jerusalem during David’s reign. It celebrates that the Lord God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth has chosen to dwell among His people! It was probably sung by priests in the temple around the time of Passover; perhaps even while Jesus was riding into Jerusalem on that Palm Sunday nearly 2000 years ago. Jesus will come again, and so I ask, “Are we ready?”

This Psalm ponders the greatness of God. It shakes us out of a slumbering mindset that imagines God more like us and less like He really is. It corrects our blurred vision. The world does not belong to you, it belongs to the LORD! We are His creation; we belong to Him!

Who could go to see such a God? Who could welcome Him back to His creation? Who could even dare to stand in His presence? Only those who are set apart, who are pure, who are Holy. It’s a this moment that we are grateful for the work of Christ on the cross to obtain the forgiveness of sin and impute righteousness to us. We are told in Hebrews that we can, “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

There is one who is worthy, who has made a way for us all, His name is JESUS! He is the only one found worthy to open the scroll and bring all of history to it’s conclusion in Revelation chapter 5. He is the one who offers to bring us along for the ride. He extends forgiveness of sins and eternal life! He is worthy! He is Worthy! He is Worthy!

PRAYER

Father, Thank you for your incredible mercy and grace! Thank you that Jesus is worthy! We look forward to the day when you return to dwell with your people. We long for the moment when you usher in the New Heaven and the New Earth! We look forward with anticipation of your grace, greatness, and glory. Even now come quickly! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

Like A Shepherd Lead Us (Psalm 23)

PSALM 23

A Psalm of David. The LORD [is] my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You [are] with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.

PSALM 23:1-6, NKJV

LIKE A SHEPHERD LEAD US

My family and I have a trail that we like to go hike from time to time. It’s a familiar trail to us now and we’ve named some of the landmarks along the way. There is the mosquito forest, hidden ox bow lake, the hunter’s glen, and “poo-poo beach” (which got it’s name when my then 4 year old son really had to use the restroom and did only to discover that there was a port-a-potty 50 yards through the woods). These familiar landmarks make the hike memorable. Each land mark, like “poo-poo beach” has a meaningful memory tied to it.

Psalm 23 is very familiar to me. It’s probably the most familiar Psalm I know. My youngest child and I quote it to each other almost every night. Because this Psalm is a well worn path in my reading/ reciting it has several key features that jump out to me as I meditate on it today. There are several places in this passage that I have grown intimately familiar with due to life circumstances. As we follow the shepherd through the eyes of a sheep going through familiar territory, I can’t help but see how the Lord has been there for me in the landmarks of my life as well.

The Lord has lead me through green pastures. He has lead me to quiet waters of refreshment. He has been there for me in the valley of the shadow of death, both as I mourned others and faced my own mortality with threatening health issues. I’ve sensed his goodness and mercy running after me.

My favorite part of this Psalm these days is where he prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies. I am comforted knowing that the enemies that scare me, don’t scare God. He has given me peace in what would otherwise be volatile situations. I am grateful for reading and meditating on this Psalm today.

PRAYER

Father, Like a Shepherd lead us. You know our needs, wants, and desires. You know what is good for us. You know what situations we are in. You know the path we should go. You are gentle in the way you lead, you protect and comfort us. You bless us even in adversity. You chase us down with blessing. You give us more than we could ever want or need. You are good to us. Like a Shepherd lead us. Let us like sheep follow you. Let me trust you in the good times and in the scary. Let me look to you to provide what I need, to know what I need, to protect me when I am in danger, to comfort me when I am scared and to lead me in the way everlasting. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

Meditation Of Christ While He Was On The Cross (Psalm 22)

PSALM 22

To the Chief Musician. Set to “The Deer of the Dawn.” A Psalm of David. My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? [Why are You so] far from helping Me, [And from] the words of My groaning? … 27 All the ends of the world Shall remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations Shall worship before You.

PSALM 22:1,27 NKJV

THE MEDITATION OF CHRIST WHILE HE WAS ON THE CROSS

This is what is often referred to as a Messianic Psalm. It’s a Psalm that may have it’s roots in the time/ circumstance that it was written, but the poetry becomes prophetic in that the details of Jesus life, ministry, death are shared in peculiar detail. David never suffered a crucifixion or ever saw one, but he describes in glaring detail the events of Jesus’ crucifixion (See especially verses 14-18)! Even down to the very facts that his bones were not broken and that they gambled for his clothes.

Jesus also referred to this Psalm when he was hanging on the cross. Check out Matthew 27:46 “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Jesus was quoting this Psalm when He said those words! This Psalm or song of David has become his meditation while he is on the Cross. He is abandoned. He is alone and His heart goes to this passage of scripture.

The Psalm in it’s structure flows likes a series of waves that express what it is to be forsaken, but then finds faith in the work of God. Finally it concludes with the big truth that all the ends of the earth will come and worship the Lord. This is indeed what the crucifixion and resurrection would ultimately accomplish. The salvation of people from all over the world!

I think we can draw a few things from this Psalm and it’s context/history. One thing I think we can note is that God is sovereign and He can speak through a shepherd king specific details of events that won’t happen for centuries. I think it’s important to notice that while we will not die for the sins of mankind, and so we will never be like Jesus in that regard, we can be like him in that we choose to meditate on God’s word, not just when it is convenient, but when it is most needed. I think we can also choose to be grateful for this passage and others like it that give us great faith in the word of God to know that the details of the crucifixion were known to the mind of God even in the Old Testament and he choose to reveal those details to his saints.

PRAYER

Father, thank you for this incredible passage that reveals to us that you know the end from the beginning. Thank you for your plan of salvation. Thank you for the details recorded in your Word. Thank you for the encouragement that there is purpose even in suffering. Thank you for the day when Christ will return and receive the nations to himself. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

Praise God For Good Days (Psalm 21)

PSALM 21

For the king trusts in the LORD, And through the mercy of the Most High he shall not be moved.

PSALM 21:7, NKJV

PRAISE GOD FOR GOOD DAYS

I had a really good week a couple of weeks back. It was just a really good week. When I went to count my blessings each day, they all came to mind quickly. My kids were all getting awards. My wife and I saw many of the sacrifices we had made as parents paying off. I had several great ministry conversations throughout the week and individuals, who were unsolicited, just shared about the impact of our ministry on their lives. It seems like every time I went for lunch or coffee someone bought my meal or beverage (Seriously, like 5 meals!) It wasn’t an anniversary, or an appreciation month, it wasn’t people from one group. It was like our community, our church, our friend network had all conspired to bless us during the same week. It was good.

I’ve come to learn that life is seasonal. I’ve been through plenty of seasons when we didn’t have any good weeks. The things people were saying were not encouraging, discouragement was looming behind every door, and sometimes folks were down right angry. We had hard weeks with our kids, it seems like instead of getting awards we were figuring out discipline for bad behavior. I freely admit that during those weeks I had a lot to call out to God for. My prayers for myself and others were frequent. I was driven to my knees often. I knew I needed the Lord. I knew to say help.

But what do you say when it’s a good week and the blessing of God abounds? David had tons of bad weeks. We’ve heard his prayers on the run from Saul and from his son Absalom. Like our lives it wasn’t always good, but there were moments where it was. So did David forget God on the good days? NO!!! He called out the God all the same, but this time with gratitude to remember God’s past faithfulness and future grace!

I think sometimes when things are going well, we can all be tempted to think we got there on our own. David reminds us in Psalm 21 that every good thing in his life is a work of God’s grace and mercy! He thanks God for his overwhelming grace in the past and counts on it going into the future.

One year at student camp our group had a particularly impactful week. I didn’t want camp to end as it normally did with just hugs all around and quickly loading up to get on the road. So we loaded up and pulled just to the edge of the property and there under a few large shade trees we took a few minutes to thank God for all the blessings that occurred in camp. We took time to recognize His hand at work in our life and give Him all the credit.

What about you? How is your life going? Are you quicker to ask for help when things are bad or to praise God when things go well? When is the last time you just thanked him for all the blessings your life and recognized that they were gifts of his mercy and grace?

PRAYER

Father, Thank you for all of your goodness that has been poured out in my life. Truly I am blessed well beyond what I deserve. I cannot help but be grateful for your work in my life. You have shown me great kindness. Thank you for days and weeks when I am on the mountain rather than in the valley. Your love and kindness in my life is greater than I am able to fully comprehend. Let my lips be free with praise and gratitude for how you have worked in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

Praying For Others In Their Affliction (Psalm 20)

PSALM 20

1 To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble; May the name of the God of Jacob defend you; 2 May He send you help from the sanctuary, And strengthen you out of Zion; 3 May He remember all your offerings, And accept your burnt sacrifice. Selah 4 May He grant you according to your heart’s [desire], And fulfill all your purpose. 5 We will rejoice in your salvation, And in the name of our God we will set up [our] banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions. 6 Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven With the saving strength of His right hand. 7 Some [trust] in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God. 8 They have bowed down and fallen; But we have risen and stand upright. 9 Save, LORD! May the King answer us when we call.

PSALM 20:1-9, NKJV

PRAYING FOR OTHERS IN THEIR AFFLICTION

Have you ever wondered how to pray for someone who was facing adversity or was in the mist of suffering affliction? I think we have our answer with this Psalm. As I read it this morning it just formed such a beautiful prayer in my heart for those I know who are facing challenging circumstances and situations.

I couldn’t help but think about Judges chapter four, where God fights for Israel by sending a thunderstorm to soften the ground and bog down Sisera’s chariots. The enemy was trusting in chariots, but the chariots were no match for God. We see His sovereignty all through that story. Sending a thunderstorm. Moving a family into the “middle of no where” so a simple housewife can dispatch a tent peg through Sisera’s skull. On the outside, all of it was impossible, but when the Lord’s people stepped out on faith, He delivered them.

So as I pray for friends who are facing life’s challenges and as I face a few of my own, I can’t help but sense the renewal of my faith in the Lord. When we step out in faith, He is there. He answers and He provides for our needs in ways that we might not expect. We can’t plan it any better than the God of Heaven. We may walk with Him through some dark places (The valley of the shadow of death?) but He will watch over us and protect us to the point that we are able to eat in from of our enemies (He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies). Yes! Our God is able!

PRAYER

Father, let our hearts overflow with ceaseless praise today! You are the true King! Governors and Governments may fail, but you never fail. We delight in your salvation. We delight in deliverance from sin, but also in the salvation from the adversity we face in this life. We pray that our lives would fulfill the purpose that you have in them. We thank you that you hear our prayers in the mist of our affliction. Give us great faith so as not to trust in horses or chariots, but for our confidence to be in you alone! You are the God of our deliverance and salvation! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

Cleanse Me From My Secret Sins (Psalm 19)

PSALM 19

9 The fear of the LORD [is] clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD [are] true [and] righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired [are they] than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned, [And] in keeping them [there is] great reward. 12 Who can understand [his] errors? Cleanse me from secret [faults]. 13 Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous [sins]; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.

PSALM 19:9-14

CLEANSE ME FROM MY SECRET SINS

There is a lot to this Psalm. It charts the revelation of God from “General Revelation” of God in creation, to the “Special Revelation” of God through His word/ law, to the “Personal Revelation” of God as David applies what he knows of God to his own heart. That last part is where I spent the most time meditating today.

Our understanding of God’s character through our understanding of an ordered world and the scripture should lead us to a desire to know God personally. We should recognize the greatness and grandeur of God in creation. We should also note that our sins keeps us from knowing God fully. We are fallen creatures.

It is out of this applied word that David cries out for God to examine the sin in his life. He wants deliverance from secret sins. Often the closer to God we are, the more we recognize sin in our lives. Sometimes sins are secret because we haven’t examined parts of our lives or held them up to the standard of God’s Word. David doesn’t want sin to rule over him anymore.

He calls out for deliverance from arrogant/willful sins. Sometimes we are prone to sins such as unjust expressions of anger. David doesn’t want to be held in “Sins dread sway.” Sometimes these types of sins cling to us, they hold on to us and are hard to release because once we have let go of them we find them attached to us in a different area. He discusses the enslaving nature of such sins.

It’s the little things that lead us into bigger things. A little disobedience leads us into a greater disobedience. When we are unfaithful with small things, we will be unfaithful with larger things. When we are faithful with the small things, we can be trusted with bigger things.

David wants God to search his heart and cleanse him from his iniquity. He doesn’t want to leave any part of his life dirty, he wants the full cleansing power of God’s word to wash over him and make him new. Shouldn’t we all want the same thing. God knows our hearts.

PRAYER

Father, search my heart. Examine my life. Look into my inner thoughts. Whatever isn’t of you; Whatever hinders me from understanding and receiving your grace; I pray that you remove it. I don’t want to have anything between you and me. I want to walk blameless in your sight. May the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

Remembered Praise (Psalm 18)

PSALM 18

1 To the Chief Musician. [A Psalm] of David the servant of the LORD, who spoke to the LORD the words of this song on the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. And he said: I will love You, O LORD, my strength. 2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3 I will call upon the LORD, [who is worthy] to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.

PSALM 18:1-3, NKJV

REMEMBERED PRAISE

Many of the Psalms were written by David over key moments in his life. We get a glimpse into his heart as he sings and prays while on the run from his enemies. We get a picture of how he prays about those who slander him and those who persecute him. We get a sense of his trust in the Lord even above the kind counsel of friends who want “the best” for him but just can’t seem to see what that is. We even read along with David’s cry for deliverance from his enemies.

We go through all those ups and downs of life too. What do we do though when we see the Lord deliver us from our desperate situations? What happens when that day of deliverance comes? Do we simply let out a few small words of thanks? Do we just give credit to the Lord in our acceptance speech at an award ceremony? Such responses just don’t seem fitting for how the Lord has delivered us!

When deliverance comes in David’s life, he pens a 50 verse Psalm. This Psalm is overflowing with praise, and a recounting God’s goodness. God is worthy of praise. He is worthy of our praise, especially when we see His word fulfilled with our own eyes! David could not be silent, he had to praise the Lord.

As I often remind my children, who make weird noises at inopportune times, there is a time and a place for everything. I long for the day when our prayer meetings are filled with more praise than problems as we recount the goodness to the Lord in answered prayers. It would be silly to think that every prayer meeting should be filled with this type of praise all the time. For most of David’s life, it hadn’t happened yet; he was still in trouble. When he finally saw his deliverance though, he didn’t hold back.

PRAYER

Father, You are worthy of all glory, honor, and praise! I confess that many times I come to you carrying heavy burdens of intercession, doubt, and perhaps guilt. I come needing rescue and confessing my dependence on you. I am grateful that you hear my prayers. I am grateful that through my life I have seen many answered prayers. You know my personality, too often I am just waiting for the other shoe to drop. That shouldn’t hold back my praise! That shouldn’t keep me from celebrating your goodness. Thank you Lord for all of your blessings! Help me to be ever mindful of our goodness and deliverance and never slack in my praise, for you are worthy! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

The Logic of Prayer (Psalm 17)

PSALM 17

1 A Prayer of David. Hear a just cause, O LORD, Attend to my cry; Give ear to my prayer [which is] not from deceitful lips. 2 Let my vindication come from Your presence; Let Your eyes look on the things that are upright. 3 You have tested my heart; You have visited [me] in the night; You have tried me and have found nothing; I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. 4 Concerning the works of men, By the word of Your lips, I have kept away from the paths of the destroyer. 5 Uphold my steps in Your paths, [That] my footsteps may not slip. 6 I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God; Incline Your ear to me, [and] hear my speech. 7 Show Your marvelous lovingkindness by Your right hand, O You who save those who trust [in You] From those who rise up [against them]. 8 Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings, 9 From the wicked who oppress me, [From] my deadly enemies who surround me. 10 They have closed up their fat [hearts]; With their mouths they speak proudly. 11 They have now surrounded us in our steps; They have set their eyes, crouching down to the earth, 12 As a lion is eager to tear his prey, And like a young lion lurking in secret places. 13 Arise, O LORD, Confront him, cast him down; Deliver my life from the wicked with Your sword, 14 With Your hand from men, O LORD, From men of the world [who have] their portion in [this] life, And whose belly You fill with Your hidden treasure. They are satisfied with children, And leave the rest of their [possession] for their babes. 15 As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.

PSALM 17:1-15, NKJV

THE LOGIC OF PRAYER

I have a teenager who has learned to argue. I liked it a lot better when she would ask for something and if we ever said, “no,” All we needed to do was say no, and it was enough. Those days are gone. She now needs us to give her a compelling reason as to why we said, “no.” Once she hears our reason, she will attempt to help us see things her way. She has learned to argue. The rational part of her brain is growing. She has suddenly become very intellectually interesting and smart. Her appeals for things have become better as well. Instead of just asking to go hang out with her friends, she has learned to suggest where she will be, what times, who she will be with, who else will be aware, and most importantly, how this plan of hers would benefit me as her dad. She knows what I will ask and has already worked her logic on my possible objections to make her petitions more appealing.

Often when we pray, we offer God just a bunch of random concerns. There certainly isn’t anything wrong with that, for we are told to, “cast all our cares on Him, for he cares for us.” (1 Peter 5:7). But I think we can pray better by applying a little of God’s Word and logic to our prayers. (Not better in the sense that we will get an answer we want, but better in the sense praying with confidence that what we are asking for is more in line with God’s will than a random petition.)

My daughter learned to amend her own would be petitions because as she brought previous petitions, she heard the answers and the objections. In short, she listened to my concerns. In the same way the more we read God’s word, the more we will know God and the more we will know about God. This will help us weed through the rambling and get to the heart of the issue, “What is God’s will in this matter?” By reading the scripture we are informed in our praying. We can ask God confidently for him to forgive our sin, we can pray behind the Psalms and ask him like a shepherd to lead us, feed us, and bring us home safely. In praying for children we can remind ourselves that he cares for little ones. In praying for the sick we can be reminded that he is a God who heals. In praying for the grieving, we can be reminded that Jesus knows what death is like and has promised to bring us to the other side.

What we see David doing here isn’t just praying random thoughts, but he is applying logic to his petitions. God delights in truthful lips and so David confesses his honesty. He knows that God defends the righteous and so he pleads for the Lord to do just that. David’s petitions for God to hear his prayer have come with a little work on his part to offer prayers that He knows align with God’s character.

PRAYER

Father, thankyou that you hear our prayers. Thank you that you have given us free access to call out to you in prayer. I am grateful that you have told us to boldly approach your throne of grace. I am grateful that you have promised to never leave or forsake us and that you provide for the needs of those who belong to you. Today I ask you to provide for me all that I need in Jesus Christ. As I meditate on your word help me to examine my own life. Let me be a man of honesty and integrity in a way that pleases you. Give me contentment in your provision to let you deal with those who unjustly accuse me. Let me stand before you as my judge and let my ears listen to what you would say. Keep me as the apple of your eye, hide me under the shadow of your wing. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.