Editor's note: Join disciples around the world in January as we devote ourselves to prayer and action. Each day, Disciples Today will publish a devotional from 31 Days of Prayer by Daniel Berk. Follow along on Facebook with your comments and prayer requests. We look forward to an amazing year as we seek God together!
Psalm 86:1-5 (NIV)
A prayer of David.
Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,
for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
for I put my trust in you.
Throughout the next five days, we are going to look through the entirety of Psalm 86 to learn from the way that David prayed to God.
"In all the parts of prayer the soul must ascend upon the wings of faith and holy desire, and be lifted up to God, to meet the communications of his grace, and in an expectation raised very high of great things from him." – Matthew Henry's commentary on Psalm 86.
v. 1. During this prayer, David is reaching out to God and begging him to listen. David is begging that he is heard. He is begging that he receives an answer. This is characteristic of the way that David prayed and sang songs to God in the Psalms. He was completely vulnerable, revealing his whole heart to God, not putting up any walls, but approaching God as the imperfect human that he was, in all his weaknesses.
v.2. David is pleading with God to be protected, saved, guarded. David is asking that God looks after him. This is something we should all pray. God is our safeguard, and he is who saves us.
v.3. David called to the Lord all day long! Should we take this literally? Probably not, but David's heart was such that he wanted to commune with God at every moment. He asked for God's mercy because he understood how powerful it was, and how much he needed it. Don't we need his mercy as well?
v. 4. David asks for joy from God. For those who are Christians, joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit. We should be asking God to bring us joy each and every day, and to see joy in the areas of life that are more difficult. We should be trusting God, because he has given us every reason and more to rely on his promises. His transforming hand in our lives breeds our trust and increases our faith.
Pray like David prayed. Read back through the above verses in Psalm 86 and notice David's heart behind each sentiment. Be vulnerable, be specific. Ask God for the things he's promised, and thank him for being faithful. Approach his throne in complete vulnerability and in complete humility. We are completely unworthy to pray to him, but he's given us the opportunity to do so as frequently as we would like. That is incredible.