Have you ever had days when your prayers just didn't inspire you. You felt flat and felt like you just didn't really know what to pray for. The psalms can provide a template for deeper prayers. In this series, we will look at several of the needs that we often pray for and see how the psalmist prayed for more than what we often pray for. He prayed for direction instead of just asking for God to take away the pain. He prayed for a stronger faith instead of just asking for forgiveness. God is willing to give so much more than we ask for. Let us follow the psalms and ask for greater things that the Lord is eager to give us. (click on the title to download the sermon.)
Plea for the nation - Psalm 80 Israel was in trouble. The people needed God to lead them as He had done for them through the desert. Our nation is more divided than it has been at any time since the civil war. Angry voices shout that their way be done! Hate has become the temper of the nation. We sing God bless our native land as we celebrate the fourth of July this week. We will pray for our nation. Pray that the Lord help us to be strong. The psalmist wants us to pray that God change the cause of the problem not just the symptoms. He will pray for four changes that will bring the peace and unity that we desire.
Plea for protection - Psalm 57 David was looking up to heaven from a dark cave. He had killed Goliath and been promoted to general in the Israeli army. Now he was stuck in this desert cave hiding from Saul for dear life. He had said to Jonathan only months before this, “What have I done? What is my crime?” (1 Sam. 20:1). If anything distinguishes David’s prayers from my own when I desire God’s protection and deliverance, it is in the area of trust and purpose. I hope that God will save me. David believed that God would prevail. David knows things look bad, but that God will triumph. We, too, need to ask for help with such faith.
Plea for forgiveness Psalm 51 Feeling sorry for your sins is just the beginning. Even if the sorrow is true and not halfhearted or just words said to make others feel good, there is more to forgiveness than a few words. David was hit by all that and more. He had given into the sin of lust and had committed adultery and murder. David knew how far he had fallen. This psalm is a classic plea for forgiveness. David not only asks for the sin to be forgiven, but asks that his life be changed. David wants God to clean up this mess in a way that no human being can ever do.
Plea for Strength Psalm 39 We often get angry with God, with ourselves and with others when we get severely sick. We make demands of God and the people around us because this shouldn’t happen to us. Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve, all men and women get sick and everyone will someday die. We act as if our illness is not normal, but how long is life and what can we really expect in this life? David has a better prayer in this psalm and if we follow his prayer, we can have joy even in our suffering and learn from our pain. We will learn a right attitude toward the Lord that will be a help to us.
Plea for vindication Psalm 26 It is easy to picture David living in a day when the whole kingdom is godly and every person is following the lead of their king in worshipping the Lord at the tabernacle. This Psalm shows the dark side of David’s kingdom. He describes deceitful men who are hypocrites. It is easy for us to wish for a perfect world. It will never happen. The lure of sin is too strong for many. David, however, asks for more than protection from God. He wants the Lord to help the faithful to not give into evil. As we pray for vindication, pray for God to keep you from becoming evil as well.