PSALM 142:5-7 – I cry to you, O Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low! Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me! Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name! The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully with me.
THEME OF THE DAY. WHY DO WE WANT GOD TO WORK? So, we find ourselves in a difficult situation, circumstance, or relationship. Our souls are aching while our hearts are breaking. We feel like the Psalmist in today’s scripture – “I cry to you, O Lord.” Out of the depths of our being we need God to do a work of deliverance and comfort right now. Overwhelmed is an understatement so to our knees we go then to our God we run. And that leads us to the question identifying today’s nugget theme.
When we are asking God to do something in our lives or grant a specific desire we offer to Him in prayer, what is behind the petition? Who is the focus really on as we are petitioning the Lord? The answer is either – or. We are seeking God’s intervention in our lives for our own comfort and deliverance. Or we are seeking His help so that we may focus on Him, particularly the giving of the thanks to Him.
In the Psalms we are looking at, David is not just being inconvenienced in life. He is in deep trouble. Persecutors are like bloodhounds after him. In fact, the setting of this Psalm is David hiding in a cave. That is the extreme position and pain where he finds himself. It would be easy, even understandable, that David would offer this desperate prayer for deliverance for his sake, but he doesn’t. And here is where we may quickly measure how spiritually mature we really are. Despite the fear and pain, David cries, “Bring me out of prison”, not for his comfort and to return to normal, but “that I may give thanks to your name!”
What about us? Do we ask God to answer our pleas so we may use it as a platform for worshipful thanksgiving? Or do we subconsciously treat Him like an impersonal Deity to get us out of jams? Or worse, a “Divine Genie” at our beck and call for our comfort? Think about it. To be able to sincerely ask God to grant our petitions and especially in hard times so that we may praise and give thanks to Him reveals a life close to the Lord. Actually it reveals a live under the control of God’s Spirit. The Apostle Paul would tell us a mark of being filled with the Holy Spirit is thanksgiving – And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:18-21).
So, why do we want God to work in our lives? What is our motive for Him to answer our prayers? The spiritually mature Christians see God’s answers to our prayers as opportunities for praise and thanksgiving. Remember, and keep reminding ourselves, there is nothing about us in our relationships with God, even answered prayer is about Him.
PRAYER: “Father, help me to focus all my prayer petitions on Your glory and not anything about me.”
QUOTE: “Pray we must, but let’s make sure what we are asking of the Lord is foremost for His honor and glory.”