Psalm 119:169-170 - Let my cry come before You, O LORD; give me understanding according to Your Word! Let my plea come before You; deliver me according to Your Word.
What cries do you bring before the Lord? Our petitions may be offered up on behalf of family or friends or for our own personal needs. Our prayers so often cover every aspect of our lives: faith, relationships, work, home, and finances. Will the Lord hear our cries? How and when will He answer? We join the psalmist in praying for an answer to those questions: "Give me understanding according to Your Word!"
It is a prayer that God has answered. He addresses our questions about prayer and gives us understanding according to His Word. In His Word, God promises, "Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me" (Psalm 50:15). Jesus said, "Pray then like this" (Matthew 6:9a) and then taught us the words we call the Lord's Prayer, precious words that provide a pattern for all of our prayers. The Word of God teaches us to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17), something we also learn from the psalmist, whose Spirit-inspired words so often provide us with words we borrow and make our own. And even when we stumble through our petitions, uncertain of the words to say, "the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words" (Romans 8:26b). The teachings of the Word are illustrated by the example of our Lord and His disciples. Jesus would withdraw alone to pray or spend all night in prayer. On the night He was betrayed, He brought His anguished petition before His Heavenly Father's throne. Jesus' followers followed the example of their Lord, praying often for strength through mission and martyrdom.
Even as he prays for understanding, the psalmist also asks, "Let my plea come before You; deliver me according to Your Word." That plea was answered according to another promise of the Word: "Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear" (Isaiah 65:24). Before we called on Him, even before the foundation of the world, God chose us in Christ to be His own (see Ephesians 1:4). Before we ever knew or acknowledged our need, before we were born, He sent His Son to save us. As the psalmist begs of God, we were delivered according to the Word—according to the Word of God's promise, according to the Word made flesh, through the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. For God showed His love for us "in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, through Your love for us in Christ Jesus, hear and answer our prayers. When we have doubts or when do not know the words to say, give us understanding according to Your Word. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
1. Do you ever get emotional when you pray?
2. Could we become better at getting an understanding according to God's Word? How might we do that?
3. Are you able to persist in prayer when things are difficult for you? When prayer seems futile, what do you do to center yourself back on God and His Word?
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