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 86:11-13 (NIV)
Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your love toward me;
you have delivered me from the depths,
from the realm of the dead.
v. 11. A prayer I pray quite frequently is, "Teach me how to follow you." In this first part, David prays that God would teach him his ways. This is a simple yet complex prayer. Though God's way is clearly laid out in the scriptures in some instances, there are many cases that following God requires the due diligence on our part to investigate and determine what way he would have us go. Though I don't believe he micromanages every aspect of our life, I do think he cares about every aspect, and he even has certain desires for our lives. If we ask him to teach us, he will. The result is that our faith will increase and we will further rely and trust in him to hold to his promises.
v.12. This psalm is filled with David's praise of the Lord. Though we've been able to draw out different aspects of his prayer, we can see that he frequently comes back to glorifying and praising God. In our prayers, we should also center around glorifying God. Our prayers can be simple or complex, but the root is always to lift his name on high.
v.13. This week I've been doing a lot of reflection on my life, and I've been greatly reminded of "the depths" that God delivered me from. He delivered me from the realm of the dead. Not remembering where we were before God saved us is a dangerous place to be. Not knowing what we needed to be saved from makes it all the more easy to run back to that which killed us in the first place. When we understand the depth of our wretchedness and how God's sacrifice played into our salvation, we can begin to more deeply understand his love for us, and how great it is.
Ask God to show you areas in your life that need growth, and ask him to teach you to more adequately follow him in those areas and in all other areas. Praise God. Shape your practice of prayer around the center that is praising him. It might mean singing and playing music, but it might also mean the attitude with which you pray. Our attitude in prayer says a lot about our heart and a lot about our realization of who God is. When we realize the throne before which we stand, the only response is to glorify he who sits in it. Approach every prayer with praise and honor. Remember who you were before God saved you from the depths, and recall why it's so miraculous that he would die for you to live.