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Seeds of the Kingdom

David’s Prayer

by Liz Griffin

But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Psalm 86:15, ESV

What an amazing way of praying David had! He approaches Almighty God at a time when he is poor and needy, a time of trouble when a crowd of violent men, who care nothing for God, are trying to kill him, ‘O God, insolent men have risen up against me; a band of ruthless men seeks my life, and they do not set you before them (Psalm 86:14).

Yet David comes in confidence that he himself is ‘godly’, or as some translations of the Bible put it ‘holy’. He calls himself a servant who trusts in God and says ‘You are my God’. He praises God for who He is; that He alone is God and that He is merciful and gracious and will answer this cry for help; ‘For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you’ (Psalm 86:5). David knows that God shows covenant kindness (chesed), or steadfast love.

David’s prayer is the cry of a son who knows his Father in heaven so well. David must have known the passage in the Old Testament where Moses was allowed to get a fuller revelation of who God and what He is like; ‘The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness’ (Exodus 34:6). David quoted this passage word for word. It was obviously something to learn off by heart and to sing so often that it was embedded in one’s spirit. It was a statement of faith or creed which would be repeated throughout the Old Testament over and over again, explaining God’s character.

David also knows God’s purposes and plans in the world to adopt the Gentile nations into His family and allow them to enjoy the covenantal promises given to Israel, for he says ‘All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name’ (Psalm 86:9).

So what does David specifically ask God to do for him? He asks for many things: ‘incline your ear, answer me, preserve my life, save your servant, be gracious to me, gladden the soul of your servant, teach me your way that I may walk in your truth, unite my heart to fear your name, turn to me and be gracious to me, give your strength to your servant, save the son of your maidservant, show me a sign of your favour’.

David is asking of God, but he’s also anticipating the answer of his prayer and giving thanks in advance! ‘I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol’ (Psalm 86:12-13). We can learn so much from David about how to approach God in faith with a boldness and a confidence as we present our requests to Him.

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, please let me know you as intimately as David did and have a confidence like his to boldly approach You with my requests in an attitude of worship, praise and thanksgiving. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Liz Griffin lived for 20 years as an expatriate in South Africa, Bahrain and Japan, as her husband Paul worked for an international oil company. Paul and Liz became involved with Ellel Ministries in 1991 as part of the ministry team and joined the full-time team at Ellel Grange in 1995. Paul and Liz teach and minister to those seeking healing in their lives and together have written two books, 'Anger - How Do You Handle It' and 'Hope and Healing For The Abused'.


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