1 To You, O Lord, I call; My rock, do not be deaf to me, For if You are silent to me,
I will become like those who go down to the pit.
2 Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry to You for help, When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.
3 Do not drag me away with the wicked And with those who work iniquity, Who speak peace with their neighbors, While evil is in their hearts.
4 Requite them according to their work and according to the evil of their practices; Requite them according to the deeds of their hands; Repay them their recompense.
5 Because they do not regard the works of the Lord Nor the deeds of His hands, He will tear them down and not build them up.
6 Blessed be the Lord, Because He has heard the voice of my supplication.
7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.
8 The Lord is their strength, And He is a saving defense to His anointed.
The psalmist here, most likely David, gives us some great lessons in prayer as he seems to “work it out” with God. He begins his supplication with uncertainty, almost fear, that somehow God might not hear him, that He might not respond. We see him throw himself into this prayer. This isn’t a “moment of silence” or a “good thought.” The supplicant is crying, his hands are raised in surrender… he is involved both emotionally and even physically. This is serious prayer.
If you have ever been in a meeting, where someone has read a passionless, preprinted prayer, even something not of their own heart, perhaps you have been offended like I have. Those prayers, to me, are like Hallmark greeting card sentiments. While perhaps clever, even well written, they miss the mark in authentic passion. Prayer, at least the prayer we see modeled in scripture, is passionate.
Next, we see that the psalmist is honest in prayer. He is honest about his feelings regarding those whom he might consider hypocrites, and his fear of suffering the same fate as them. Some might say that the prayer sounds judgmental here, or that the writer seems unloving toward the lost. After all, this does not seem like a Christian attitude… the language is clear: “give them what they deserve.”
You know what, I have prayed that prayer. You might have prayed that prayer as well. It’s what is truly in our hearts at times. It’s real, it’s honest. I don’t think it’s any more “Christian” to feign a sentiment as it is to be honest about your feelings. Of course, when dealing with people, we sometimes have to be a little less open, but here, in the privacy of our prayer, sincerity is necessary. God knows our heart anyway. We do not see Jesus commend men often, but in the new testament he commends faith and sincerity. Be honest in prayer.
Finally, we see the author arrive at what might be the very purpose of prayer, –faith. As he has brought his petition before the throne of God, he has worked it out. We only read what he wrote, but not necessarily what the Lord by His Spirit has responded with. Prayer is supernatural conversation with God, and He does speak to us in ways that are ineffable. When He has spoken to our hearts, there will be a change of attitude and a change of focus.
The result of this time spent in supplication is faith welling up in the believer. I say believer, because that is the one who prays… one who believes that there is a God, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. When we work things out with God in prayer, we end up having a greater confidence in Him. Our human feelings, get “worked through” and He gets the glory.
Oh, that we would spend more time like this, talking to our Heavenly Father, rather than trying to work things out in the flesh.