When we started our study on Psalms, I pointed out how the book of Psalms is divided into 5 books. Well, tonight our study comes from the 3rd book, and it is the only Psalm in this book that is attributed to David.
This is a psalm of prayer in which David expresses his faith and trust in God. Prayer is an important part of our lives, and we can learn a lot about praying to God from Davidís prayer. The thoughts in this prayer are quoted or referred to in about 20 other Psalms, which tells you that prayer is not something that has to original. Many of us use some of the same phrases when we pray to God, and there is nothing wrong with that as long as we pray from the heart. However, if we find ourselves using common phrases with our hearts disengaged, then our prayers become empty words. As far as that goes, if our hearts are not engaged in our prayers everything we pray will be empty words. Let us always do our best to engage our mind and our faith God when we pray so that our prayers will reach higher than the ceiling.
Psalm 86:1 A Prayer of David Bow down Your ear, O LORD, hear me; For I am poor and needy.††† ††††
Just as we have seen in Davidís others Psalms, he gives us a visual picture. I see him asking God to learn in closer to him from heaven, so that he can hear his prayer with clarity because he wanted His undivided attention. The reason he wants Him to listen carefully is because he is poor and needy. When we think of poor and needy we would probably think about someone that is out of money and is looking for their next meal. While these words could certainly include these things, the Hebrew word behind poor carries the idea of afflicted and the word needy can mean a strong need to be delivered from trouble. David was constantly finding himself afflicted by his enemies and needing deliverance from them. †
Sometimes, it seems David felt like God was not listening to him because he did not always receive a quick response to his prayers. Have you felt that way? Have you ever asked God to be sure and listen? I can understand why men like David would wonder if God was listening sometimes especially under difficult circumstances, but if we will take it to heart what Godís Word says about Him hearing our prayers and answering them according to His will, then we can know with confidence that God is listening to our prayers. We need to remind ourselves, especially in times when we are weak that God is listening, and that He will do what is best for us, even if we do not fully understand why God does it the way He does it.
Many times, we only think about ourselves, but have you ever thought about the millions of prayers God has to hear daily.† I stand in aw, just thinking about how God can hear all those prayers and be involved in all of our lives across the world at the same time. From a humanís perspective that is impossible, but with God all things are possible. When you think about how powerful God is and that He cares about you or me, it is absolutely amazing and comforting at the same time. †
Psalm 86:2 Preserve my life, for I am holy; You are my God; Save Your servant who trusts in You!† 3 Be merciful to me, O Lord, For I cry to You all day long.† 4 Rejoice the soul of Your servant, For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
David is confident in God, and he knows that God has the power to save Him. The reason he thinks he should be saved is because he is holy, and he has made God his only God. David was a true servant of God and His ways, and he had complete trust in Him. We can see Davidís commitment and trust in God because this was not a one time prayer. No, he prayed to God all day long and throughout his life. He poured his soul out to God knowing that God can lift him up and cause him to rejoice. †
There are several things that we can learn about our prayer life from what David has said here. First, we can be confident that God can preserve our lives for eternity because He promised to do so if we remain faithful. If you want God to hear your prayers and know that He is listening to them and will answer them, then you must be living a holy life. Several passages teach us this idea:
John 9:31 "Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. †
James 5:16 †The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
Proverbs 1:28 "Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.† 29 Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the LORD,
While God will hear the prayer of sinner that is honestly seeking God like Cornelius in Acts 10, He will not answer the prayer of those who refuse to follow His ways. Those who live a life of sin and then decide to get religious and pray one prayer to God need to realize that it takes more than just praying words to God because He must see a sincere change in your attitude and your life. But, for those of us who are faithful servants of God, we can know by our faith that God is listening, and by our faith, we should trust in God and know that He can lift our soul up as well. †
James confirms that when we pray we must do so without doubting in Godís ability to help us:
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.† 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
James 5:15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.
Notice what David says next:
Psalm 86:5 For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.
David is pointing out how good our God is. Once we become a child of God and have our sins washed away by blood of Jesus in the watery grave of baptism, we belong to God, and He knows that we are going to mess up from time to time, but He is always ready to forgive us when we repent. John explains it this way:
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.† 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.† 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.† 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.†
We are so fortunate that we have a God that loves us and is so merciful to us. I am glad that we do not get what we deserve. We have so many reasons to be thankful to God especial for him making Jesus our high priest as:
Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.† 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.† 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Not only will God listen to us when we pray to Him and forgive us, He will be there to help us. He knows exactly how to help us because Jesus lived as one of us, and He understands the temptations and the problems that we go through. He also knows how important is that the Father listens to our prayers.
There were many times Jesus prayed to the Father. Most of the time, He got what He asked for except for when He prayed to God that He might not have to taste the cup of suffering. Though He still had to drink the cup suffering by everything that happened to Him shortly before His death, He understood that Godís will had to take place. Without His death, none of us could be reconciled to God.
We donít always get what we ask for, but we must learn to trust in God, because, even if we lose our life, we can know that we will live forever with God in heaven.
Psalm 86:6 Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; And attend to the voice of my supplications.† 7 In the day of my trouble I will call upon You, For You will answer me.
Since Davidís faith in God is strong, he has no doubt that God will hear his voice when he prays and that God will answer His prayers. As Christians, we can have the same confidence as David because we know that God loves us and is looking out for us. No one can take that hope away from us. Life in general is much greater when you believe in God and listen to Him through His Word, and talk to Him through prayer. While loved ones and friends will come and go, God is a rock that will endure forever because He will always be there. †
Psalm 86:8 Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord; Nor are there any works like Your works. †
David is not saying that there are other gods that have powers or were real, he is simply referring to the many idols that man had created and called gods. Many have tendency to want to create gods of their own, but all they end up being is products of our imagination. However, God almighty, stands is class of His own because man did not create Him, He created man, and His works can be seen by all through His creation. Mankind has seen God at work with His miracles and by the prayers that He answers. There is nothing that compares to the power and majesty of God. †
Psalm 86: 9 All nations whom You have made Shall come and worship before You, O Lord, And shall glorify Your name.† 10 For You are great, and do wondrous things; You alone are God.
This can be seen as prophetic statement about how both Jew and Gentile nations will worship before God, which we see under the new covenant. At the end of time, all nations whether good or bad will recognize Jesus as Lord and will glorify His name as Paul wrote in:
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,† 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,† 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.† 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.† 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,† 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,† 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. †
Again, no other gods could make such a claim and be able to back it up. Since we know how powerful God is and what He is capable of, we should have no doubt that He is the only God that can bring us eternal salvation. †
Psalm 86:11 Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.† 12 I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And I will glorify Your name forevermore.† 13 For great is Your mercy toward me, And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
One thing that we should
pray for us is for God to guide us and give us wisdom in understanding His Word
and the courage to live by it. David never wanted to get to the point in his
life where he no longer feared God, or we could say respected God. Those who
take Godís blessing for granted can and do lose their respect for God. In fact,
all throughout the O.T. we read about how the children of
Since we live in such an advance
society where we can take care of all our physical needs, it is easy for us to
follow in the footsteps of the children of
If more people would have
the attitude that David did, they would be more concerned about what Godís Word
tells us to do, instead of what their hearts tell them to do. We certainly
would not have over 2000 denominations in
One of our greatest fears should be not fearing God anymore, and one of the quickest ways for this to happen is to stop studying His Word and stop praying. When we do allow God to direct or pathway with His Word, and we continue to pray to Him on a daily basis, like David, the natural responses will be for us praise God with our whole heart, and to take advantage of every opportunity that we get to glorify His name. It is the least we can do after what God has done for us.
David had witnessed countless times where God had saved him from death, and he never wanted to forget how merciful God is, and we should not either. As Christians, we must constantly remind ourselves of what God has done for us and how much He loves us because if we donít, we will find ourselves drifting from God, which is why we are warned in:
Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.† 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward,† 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, †
David finishes his prayer by saying:
Psalm 86:14 O God, the proud have risen against me, And a mob of violent men have sought my life, And have not set You before them.† 15 But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.† 16 Oh, turn to me, and have mercy on me! Give Your strength to Your servant, And save the son of Your maidservant.† 17 Show me a sign for good, That those who hate me may see it and be ashamed, Because You, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.† ††
One of the recurring themes of Davidís Psalms is for God, to deliver him from his enemies. Also, he usually points out how they have no respect for God and David wants God to show his enemy that He does exist, and that He does protect the righteous. When these enemies see God delivering David from their hands, and they have been brought low, they will be ashamed. †
One thing we should defiantly pray for is that the sinners of our world will see God at work in our lives. We should pray that we have the courage to be good examples in every situation no matter how difficult it may be. The reason we should pray for this is because God wants us to take as many people to heaven with us as we can. †We should also pray for our enemies. As David pointed out, God can give us strength if we will allow Him to. As Paul said:
Philippians 4:12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.† 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
David, also points out another outstanding characteristic about God, His longsuffering. Could you image if God wasnít longsuffering? I donít even like to think about God not having this quality. I wish more people could learn to have this quality. †
When we think about how loving, merciful, and patient God is, it should bring great comfort to our lives.
In conclusion, the prayer of David has taught us a lot about praying to God. We can know that God listens to our prayers, but if we want to be confident that He will answer them, we must learn to put our faith in God and trust in His timing. We can know that no one can take the power of prayer away from us. Even if we donít always receive the answer we want for our prayers, we can know that God has our best interest at heart. Even if we die physically after praying for deliverance, like Jesus, we can know that our soul will return† to God, and that we will be with God forever. We learned how important it is that we pray daily and study Godís Word so that we are constantly reminded of God wonderful love, mercy, and longsuffering. We also learned that we should pray that we have the courage to be good examples so that we might lead the sinners of this world to Christ. We should certainly pray for our enemies. †
I† hope this lesson has reminded you how important our prayer life is and has given you some good ideas of some things to pray for. Far too many Christians have taken the avenue of prayer for granted, but I hope that none of you ever will. †