Today we read how prayers can lead us to spiritual maturity: David’s prayers. I took the first and last psalms with the phrase “hear my prayer” for our reading here. Note the similarities and differences between the two incidents. (Note: Bold highlights added by me.)
My brief notes: in Psalm 4 David was rather sure of his own effort to remain godly and righteous and ability to carry out God’s laws. In Psalm 143 he humbled himself and declared that no one was righteous before God! Note how David had matured spiritually in his walk with God. It is important to note that he mentioned his spirit fainting and failing and needed God’s Spirit to lead him! In both psalms we see one common factor: David always prayed. He put his hope in God and not in man. A marked change in spiritual maturity is his becoming God-focus (instead of self-focus) in Psalm 143 prayer.
Psalm 4 (ESV) Answer Me When I Call
To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm of David.
1 Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have given me relief when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
2 O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame?
How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah
3 But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.
4 Be angry, and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah
5 Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the Lord.
6 There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?
Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!”
7 You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound.
8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 143 (ESV) My Soul Thirsts for You A Psalm of David.
143 Hear my prayer, O Lord;
give ear to my pleas for mercy!
In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!
2 Enter not into judgment with your servant,
for no one living is righteous before you.
3 For the enemy has pursued my soul;
he has crushed my life to the ground;
he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.
4 Therefore my spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled.
5 I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all that you have done;
I ponder the work of your hands.
6 I stretch out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah
7 Answer me quickly, O Lord!
My spirit fails!
Hide not your face from me,
lest I be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
9 Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord!
I have fled to you for refuge.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God!
Let your good Spirit lead me
on level ground!
11 For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life!
In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
12 And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies,
and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul,
for I am your servant.
_________Keys to effective prayers:
- be Spirit-led
- be God-focus