Psalm 5 | Righteous Prayer (part 1)
DAVID GOFF | may 27, 2020
to my words, O Lord,
Consider my meditation.
Give heed to the voice of my cry,
My King and my God,
For to You I will pray.
My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord;
In the morning I will direct it to You,
And I will look up.
You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness,
Nor shall evil dwell with You.
The boastful shall not stand in Your sight;
You hate all workers of iniquity.
You shall destroy those who speak falsehood;
The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy;
In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple.
Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies;
Make Your way straight before my face.
is no faithfulness in their mouth;
Their inward part is destruction;
Their throat is an open tomb;
They flatter with their tongue.
Pronounce them guilty, O God!
Let them fall by their own counsels;
Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions,
For they have rebelled against You.
let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You.
For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous;
With favor You will surround him as with a shield.
Prayer has fallen on hard times. In a 2015 article, on the San Bernardino shooting, the New York Daily News' first words proclaimed, "Prayer's aren't working." Whether it be in response to mass shootings, or other areas of our life - many people have devalued the importance of prayer.
Yet, it's not only non-religious people who have devalued prayer. Even those of us who are professing Christians devalue prayer when we settle for inconsistent, pathetic prayer in our own lives.
Some of the symptoms of a devalued prayer life include:
In Psalm 5, we see David offer the Lord a fervent morning prayer. Rather than lifeless prayers that many of us have settled for - David provides us with an example of a righteous prayer.
This week, we will consider the first two paragraphs of this Psalm (5:1-6), and reflect on two insights from David's prayer:
Approach the Lord as King
In today's Psalm, the first three verses paint a picture of David's fervent prayer life. In the morning, he reverently approaches the Lord as King and brings him his words and the voice of his cries.
What is especially encouraging here is the way that David also says, "Consider my meditation" (Psalm 5:2). Here David asks the Lord to hear his words, his cry, and also to search his thoughts as well. This idea is also in Romans 8, where Paul encourages us with the reality that the Holy Spirit searches our mind and makes intercession for us with the Father. This even goes beyond the Spirit, knowing our thoughts.
MacArthur, elaborating on this idea, said this:
"the indwelling Spirit Himself intercedes for us, bringing our needs before God even when we do not know what they are or when we pray about them unwisely."
We also see another helpful example from David's prayer, in that he anticipated the Lord would answer his prayers. In verse 3, he says, "In the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up" (Psalm 5:3). You see, David's gaze was upward, and had full anticipation that the Lord would answer his prayers. He had complete confidence in the love and power of the Lord.
For many of us, we weren't raised in a Christian home and don't know how to pray. What an encouragement it is to know that if we come in reverence with a prayerful heart that He will listen, and the Holy Spirit will intercede for us despite our shortcomings.
As we come to the Lord in prayer, we also need to see Him as holy; the same way that David did.
Acknowledge God's character
As we come to this next section of the Psalm, we see David reflect upon the character of the Lord. This should be a reminder that when we come in prayer, of our need to evaluate our spiritual standing before the Lord.
The aspect of God's character we see in verse 4 is holiness. For those who approach Him in humility and sincerely pursue holiness, he listens and takes pleasure in them.
Yet, this is not the case of the proud and disobedient. David declares this, saying, "For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, Nor shall evil dwell with You" (Psalm 5:4). It should not surprise us that since our God is holy, our sins impede our prayer life.
The Prophet Isaiah affirms the impact of our sin with our relationship with God:
But your iniquities have separated you
from your God;
And your sins have hidden His face from you,
So that He will not hear (Isaiah 59:2)
In our lives, as we approach God in prayer, is our posture one of proudness and disobedience? If that is the case, we will not be able to stand in His sight (Psalm 5:5); he will not hear our prayers. So, as we approach the throne of grace, let us acknowledge His character of holiness.
When we settle for inconsistent and pathetic prayer life, we should not be surprised that our Christian walk becomes lackluster. Yet, we can pursue righteous prayer by approaching the Lord as king and acknowledging his character.
Next week, Lord willing, we will continue our look at Psalm 5, focusing on how David prays for guidance. Till then, let us draw close to God in righteous prayer bringing all our petitions to him in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
David Goff is the Associate Pastor of First Baptist Church, Washington MI