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David's Prayer in Psalm 143 Can Be Yours
Reading the Bible through this year.
Lately, I’ve been caught up in the psalms. Here’s one thing I’ve learned in the process of reading the Bible through this year.
To read a psalm a day is an easy task for most of us and will nearly always bring encouragement to the soul. To read multiple psalms in one day’s reading can be overwhelming. Some days, my current reading plan has included up to six psalms or more. That’s a lot of poetry. A lot of praise. A lot of pleading with the Lord for help.
On days when multiple psalms are read back-to-back, especially the psalms credited to David (which most are), it can be almost depressing. In How Losing Heart Can Lead to Hope I shared how David almost lost heart—remember, he had a lot going on in his life, and much of it was not good.
The truth is we really love the more uplifting passages, like David’s declaration of who God is and what he does in Psalm 23’s The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want… (ESV).
And there’s Psalm 34, a long-time favorite of mine, full of the rich praises of the Lord of heaven’s armies, as David loved to call Him.
I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. (34.1)
Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! (34.3)
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! (34.8)
Both hymns and modern worship songs have been written about these blessed words from Psalm 34, but here’s something I find interesting. Scripture indicates David sang this psalm during, or perhaps following, an audience with King Achish, when he feigned madness. This was during the time David was on the run from King Saul. (1 Samuel 21)
Theologians are somewhat unsure what to make of this scene, but it says a lot that the words of Psalm 34 are what came to David’s mind, in that situation of great distress.
A common observation about the book of Psalms is this—we often see ourselves in the poetry, praise, and pleading. Psalm 143 is no exception.
Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my plea! (v.1a)
Answer me because you are faithful and righteous. (v.1b)
Come quickly, Lord, and answer me, for my depression deepens. (v.7)
Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you. (v.8b)
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord; I run to you… (v.9)
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. (v.10a)
Lead me forward on a firm footing. (v.10b)
For the glory of your name, O Lord, preserve my life. (v.11a)
Because of your faithfulness, bring me out of this distress. (v.11b)
The psalmist was in great distress; desperate for God to hear and respond. He needed a rescue and guide; Someone to bring me out of this turmoil that had become his life.
David’s prayer can be yours, today.
Friend, if this sounds anything like your current situation, and I have been there, let me offer a suggestion. Whether you require a gentle nudge, or swift push, consider making Psalm 143 your prayer!
Oh, Lord of heaven’s armies, to the One who is faithful and righteous; today, in my moment of distress, I ask you to please…
Hear me. Answer me. Come to me. Show me. Rescue me. Teach me. Lead me. Preserve me. Bring me out.
For I am your servant. Amen. (v.12)