The King’s Prayer
Psalm 86 is a Psalm of King David. The heading tells us that this psalm is “A Prayer of David”. Verse 1 indicates that he wrote it when he was surrounded by arrogant enemies who were trying to kill him. How good it is to see the King of Israel turning to God for help and strength in his time of need.
- In what ways does David describe himself as he faces this attack (v1-4)?
- What does he ask God to do?
- How do verses 5-7 model a response for us when life seems out of control?
King David humbles himself before the Lord. He says he is ‘poor and needy’ as he calls out for God to have mercy on him in his time of trouble. David also describes himself as ‘faithful to God’. Is he being boastful? No! He is simply trusting in the fact that he belongs wholly to the Lord, so he can confidently call out to Him in prayer. And when we trust in the Lord we can do the same.
- Meditate on verses 8-10. What do they tell us about God?
- What response does David the King make as he thinks about the greatness of the Lord (v11-13)?
- See how many times the word ‘will’ occurs from verse 8-13. How does the way it is used in verses 8-10 differ from the way it is used in verses 11-13?
In verse 11 David asks God to give him ‘an undivided heart’. David is conscious of the fact that he can let priorities other than loving and serving God divide up his heart and make him lukewarm in his devotion to the Lord. Like David, we too need to come before God and ask Him to give us an undivided heart. Let’s ask him to teach us His way so we can rely fully on His faithfulness no matter what situation we are facing.
- There are at least 14 personal prayer requests in this psalm. One is that David wants the Lord to deliver him from his enemies. What does verse 17 tell us about his motivation for this?
Even though David describes his enemies as ‘ruthless people’ who are ‘trying to kill’ him, he quickly takes the focus off them and turns his thoughts to the Lord. He speaks of the Lord’s compassion, grace, patience, love, faithfulness, mercy and strength. What a wonderful example for us to follow.
Take time to share
- What is one thing you learnt or observed about prayer from this Psalm? How will this change the way you pray? Share your discovery with a friend. Maybe you could also pray together.