The Morning Watch – Part 1
“Listen to my words, Lord, consider my lament.” (Psalm 5:1 NIV)
Down through the ages, the men and women who have influenced people most for the Kingdom of God have been men and women of prayer. The Psalmist David was one of those people, for most of his Psalms are prayers of one kind or another. What made David’s prayers so effective? We all need to learn the secret for ourselves, whether we are a lay person, a pastor, or an evangelist.
Notice how David talks to God in Psalm 5. There’s no preamble or spiritual jargon. He gets right to the point and says, “Listen to my words, Lord, consider my lament.” Then we see his plaintive cry: “Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.” David prayed with urgency. He prayed from his heart, not from his head. The word rendered “lament” in English means groaning or sighing in the original Hebrew. Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by something that you couldn’t even verbalize it? That’s what David was expressing. This is no neat and clever presentation to God. This is from his gut.
Why is David praying with such urgency? As we read further in the Psalm, we see that he has enemies and that they are after him; so he comes before the Lord. He opens his heart and he searches and asks himself, “What’s facing me today?” And then he pours out his lament to God. In this Psalm, David is saying, “I sigh… I cry to you… hear my groaning…” David’s whole being is engaged in this prayer.
This is important for us, because when we pray, it’s got to come from our heart too. In fact, all effective prayer has to come from the heart. When we pray with our hearts, we reach the heart of God, for heart touches heart. And like David, we have to ask ourselves, “What’s really facing me today?” We all have needs every day, but there are days when the roof caves in; when the bottom falls out; when we hear news that breaks our heart. In the Psalm, we see David looking at what is before him and bringing it to the Lord. And he feels what he’s praying. He’s not making it up in his head; he’s not praying by rote; he’s not copying what somebody else is saying; he’s not using flowery language to impress the hearer. No, he’s saying, “Hear my cry for help, my King and my God!”
As great as David’s prayer is, we can say something even better than what he was able to say. David cried out, saying, “You’re my King and my God,” but because Jesus Christ came to give his life as a sacrifice for our sins, those who have accepted him as Savior now have restored relationship with God. Thus we can call him, not just our God, not just our King, but more than that—we can call him “Our Father…”
To be continued…
Read Psalm 5:1-2.