Our secular world prides itself in independence, and this has conditioned us to believe that we should handle all our needs and troubles by ourselves. But we are invited to pray because we need God, and God delights in helping us, his children.
Psalm 86:1-10, 14-15 – A model prayer of David.
1 Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
2 Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
3 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day.
4 Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
6 Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace.
7 In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me.
8 There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours.
9 All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.
10 For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.
14 O God, insolent men have risen up against me; a band of ruthless men seeks my life, and they do not set you before them.
15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Note: Although only a portion of the psalm is used in this devotional study, Psalm 86 as a whole is a great model prayer.
Observation and Reflection
Notice how David motivates his requests to God (the lessons to the hearer/ reader).
- Why does David pray to God? What are the needs he brings before God?
- Why is David confident that God will hear him? What does he say about
- his relationship to God? and
- God’s nature and character?
- Think of how and why it helps one to pray in times of need, knowing that God is
- Not merely “a god”, or “the God”, but “my God” whom you are devoted to?
- Kind-hearted and generous (good and gracious);
- Forgiving and merciful;
- Patient (slow to anger);
- Faithful (steadfast);
- The powerful Creator of all.
Personal Reflections and Application
Psalm 86 is a helpful lesson on prayer: the psalmist comforts us to know that in times of urgent need we can and should bring our request before God who is merciful and kind, and all-powerful Lord of the universe. We are never called on to live independently or carry burdens too big for ourselves – we were created to live in dependence on the all-powerful, loving Father.
- James wrote “you have not, because you ask not.” Consider your needs. Write it down.
- Before you bring your needs to God, remind yourself in prayer who God is – tell him who you believe Him to be – and what He is like. (Hint: you can start with Psalm 89 above; it was recorded by David for this purpose!)
- Now bring your needs to God in prayer, in all urgency and earnestness; he has your attention!