If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: Leviticus 11–12, Psalms 13–14, Proverbs 26, 1 Thessalonians 5. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can't do all the readings today, read Psalm 13.
Is it possible that we are too polite in our prayers? While we should never blaspheme God, maybe we are too cautious in our words and our tone when we approach God in prayer. When we were reading Job together earlier this year, we saw how foolish and somewhat reckless he became in his demands for God’s justice. Although God did not bend to Job’s demands and didn’t even explain himself to Job, he also did not condemn Job for the raw emotions he had and the words that they produced. We see this same kind of bold, pleading prayer from David today in Psalm 13: “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? (vv. 1-2). It is impossible to read those words and not feel some of the distress that David must have felt. Then his questions turned to demands: “Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes…” This evidences a kind of boldness in prayer that is pretty rare, at least in my prayers and in the prayer meetings I’ve participated in during my lifetime. It is important, however, to recognize the bases of this boldness, which are two:
First, David’s boldness in prayer was based on God’s covenant according to verse 3b-4: “or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’ and my foes will rejoice when I fall.” If God did not answer David’s prayer for deliverance, then David would die. We’re all going to die someday; however, God had made certain promises to David. If he were to die before those promises were fulfilled, then David’s enemies—God’s enemies—would triumph over God’s covenant promises. David’s boldness in prayer came from his conviction that God would do what he promised to do. Our bold praying should come from the same place; while God has not made individual promises to any of us like the ones he made to David, he has made promises to us in Christ. We can claim his power to overcome temptation or to stand strong under persecution or to keep the faith when doubts enter our minds. This is a kind of bold praying that is not disrespectful to God; it honors him, in fact, because in these prayers we hold fast to his word and look to him in faith to do what he promised.
The second basis for David’s bold prayer was God’s relationship with him. This is, of course, based on the first. God’s covenant with David was not an arm’s length business deal between two self-interested parties. It was a vow God made to David based on his “unfailing love” (v. 5). David proclaims his “trust” (v. 5a) in God and his love and holds on to that as he prays. While the risks to his life were real and the fear was raw, David could pray confidently in faith because his relationship with God was personal and genuine. So it is with us; through Christ we have been adopted into God’s family and invited to speak to God as “Abba,” the most tender expression of a helpless child toward his father. When we feel helpless and desperate before God, we can pour out our heart to him with raw, genuine emotion because we are accepted into a perfect, permanent relationship with God through faith in the merits of Christ. Let this little Psalm give your faith and your prayer life a big boost today, no matter what you need from God.
Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we'll talk scripture again tomorrow.