If anyone ever knew how to pray from an intimate relationship with the Lord God, it was King David.
Evening Prayer of Trust in God. For the choir director; on stringed instruments. A Psalm of David.
Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.
O sons of men, how long will my honor become a reproach?
How long will you love what is worthless and aim at deception? Selah.
But know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself;
The Lord hears when I call to Him.
What an encouragement! King David approaches God directly, boldly. Today’s popular prayer-style begins with, “O Jesus, I just want to …,” as if apologizing for bothering him. Listening to our prayers is no bother at all for God. If we think about it, he hears all our thoughts anyway, and as he possesses all the wisdom in the universe, considering our petitions is, for him, a no-brainer. As for granting our requests, he already knows what’s best for each of us, so if what we want is best, he already has it under control. If not, his answer will be “wait,” or, “no.”
I think our prayer time might be better spent by thanking God for meeting our needs, and praising him for who he is, naming his attributes and what they mean to us. Jesus said to wear out the unjust judge with our pestering, but God isn’t unjust. Jesus applied that parable in Luke 18:6-8. “Cry” in the passage above doesn’t mean crying with tears or whining. It means cry out to God with shouts. That speaks of desperation, as when we reach the end of ourselves and are forced to fall on his mercy.
After King David petitions God, he starts in on his enemies, whom he addresses as “sons of men,” and rightly describes as lovers of what is worthless, and bound to deceit. Then he compares himself with those deceivers, implying that he is a godly man, set apart for his Lord. And finally, he brags just a little about his Lord listening to his prayers.
All that David claimed for God, and himself, is true, because he was rightly related to his Lord. Today, anyone who truly wants that relationship with God can have it, and even more, if they accept Jesus’ sacrificial work for themselves, sincerely repent of their dead works, and dedicate their life to obeying his Great Commandment.
“More,” you say? Yes, much more, as all who belong to God through Christ Jesus also have his Holy Spirit abiding in them. And you can’t get closer to God than that. He wants you to boldly declare your needs to him, just as he wants to grant them according to his infinite, perfect wisdom.
Prayer’s purpose is not to conform God to your will, but to conform you to his will.