A “prayer life” is something that many seek, but fewer really experience. We talk about a prayer LIFE … but the use of that definer talks of something deeper than just a simple time of talking to God
You’ve heard “a friend must show himself friendly” . Many people want friends, they want relationships but they don’t want to do the work of intimacy. They are afraid of rejection, disappointment, or openness. To have a relationship we have to relate.
Well, a prayer life is just that, it is a course of life. We all pray. Whether you are blessing food, giving God a daily list of your concerns, or breathing a simple “Lord help me”, those are all prayers. But a prayer LIFE is an intimate engagement with God. It is the sharing of hurts. It is give and take, speaking and listening, crying, sharing joys, and so much more. Just like a relationship involves an honest exchange, even when not beautiful or warm and fuzzy, so is a prayer life.
David had a relationship that fostered a prayer life. It was most likely born of parents that taught him of God’s love, concern, compassion. It was developed, no doubt, in the loneliness of the life of a shepherd. David, alone with his sheep, his rod and staff, perhaps his lyre strapped over his shoulder, learned to relate to God because there was no one else but sheep to talk to. So David shared, probably his fears, frustrations, joys, and sorrows with his sheep, but more importantly HIS Shepherd, The Lord. He knew the Lord’s “rod and staff”. He knew the Lord’s provision and the possibilities. He know the Lord’s overshadowing even in the shadow of death. He knew the Lord’s Table even in the presence of enemies. He knew that his dwelling place was with God.
So, when you read David’s Psalms you see that intimacy. Intimacy is able to be honest. Most of the time, we don’t really get honest with God because 1) we don’t know how he will respond because a) we don’t know his character, nature, because that comes from education and experience or b) we haven’t been honest enough before to find out. And 2) we don’t want him to be honest with us, knowing that if I’m honest with him,, i have to let him respond and be honest with me. Remember when Job asked God for an answer and God said “brace yourself like a man and I will answer you”.
But David had a prayer LIFE. He had a relationship with God.
Look at Psalm 55
Verse 1 – “listen to my prayer O God, do not ignore my plea”
Verse 2 – “hear me and answer me”
David came to God expecting interaction. He didn’t require anything from God other than the natural expectation of interaction
David was Open and Honest
Verse 2 – ” … my thoughts trouble me and I am distraught”
Verse 3 – “the voice of the enemy … the stares of the wicked …”
How honest are we about what we are struggling with?
Verse 4 – “my heart is in anguish … terrors of death”
verse 6 – “Oh that I had the wings of a dove …”
I remember hearing the great preacher EV Hill say of this verse “But David you don’t have the wings of dove you are a man, you can’t fly away, you have to stay”
Verse 9 – “Confuse … Confound”
Ask God for specific actions … My old pastor John Brady used to say “when we pray generally, generally nothing happens”
Verse 13 – this was personal these were attacks from a friend, from a fellow worshipper
Verse 16 – “But I call to God and the Lord saves me”
Where do you take your complaints, who is your “go to guy”? The Lord?
Verse 17 – evening, morning, noon … that’s LIFE
Verse 21 – His Speech is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart, Words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords”
Have you been there? I have been there
What am I supposed to do against this “smooth criminal”, this Velvet Adversary?
Verse 22 – “Cast your cares on the Lord, and he will sustain you, he will never let the righteous fall”
If I hold onto my burdens, they weigh me down, throw it off, let the Lord hold, measure, contain you because he will never let the righteous be yoked or shaken by challenges
Cast is in the imperative … you must. Do you ever need to encourage yourself, do a self-talk?
Verse 23 – “You God will bring down the wicked into the pit of corruption”
David lifts his eyes here off the immediacy of his problem and looks to the end and it gives him hope for today.
Verse 23 – “As for Me, I will trust in you”
We have to set our hope and confidence in the one in whom we are in relationship
Not, … I will … but a statement of fact … I TRUST … active tense right now
Trust yes is a life choice from life experience by a man with a prayer LIFE
Team Me David …
Remember, prayer is not so much about me changing God, but God changing me