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We live in an “if only” and a “what if” world. We say, “If only I had done something different than I did,” or “If only I hadn’t done that.” We think, “What if this or that happens.”
The Book of Peter encourages us to cast all of our “if onlys” and “what ifs” on God, because he cares for us. “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5.7).
If we pray Psalm 4 or many of the other Psalms that we will be studying prior to sleep, they will allow us to cast all of our anxiety on God. This will enable us to sleep better, knowing that God is at work in the world and in our lives.
Psalm 5 is a prayer that has been prayed by the church in the morning for centuries. Praying Psalm 5 is a great way to begin your day.
A Deep Desire to be Heard
The Psalm begins with a fervent desire for God to hear and answer the prayer.
Give ear to my words, O Lord;
give heed to my sighing.
Listen to the sound of my cry,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch. (Psalm 5.1-3)
Our relationship with God is one of deep awe when we consider who he is. It is proper to address him with words of honor and respect, such as “Lord” and my “King and my God.”
At the same time, our relationship with him is as intimate as a Father to his child and we can say to him, “Our Father” (Matthew 6.9).
We pray, because we want God to do something for us. We ask God to hear us, to listen to us, and we plead our case before him. In an atmosphere of awe and respect, the writers of the Psalms are honest with their desire for God’s help in the various situations in which they find themselves.
Please try this prayer experiment.
Think of something that you really want or need. Get a picture of the awesome power of God and a vision of the fact that God is your heavenly Father. Remember, Father is not a title; it is a relationship that God offers you.
Put the first three verses of Psalm 5 into your own words. Plead your case before God and ask him to grant your request. Leave your request in his hands, and “wait” on him to give you his answer.
Don’t forget what you pray for. When God brings it about, be sure to praise him for his goodness.
If the speaker of this Psalm had responded to the prayer experiment I have suggested, the next verses would have been his prayer. Enemies were threatening his very life.
For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil will not sojourn with you.
The boastful will not stand before your eyes;
you hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies;
the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful. (Psalm 5.4-6)
The reality of evil today is as evident as the news on television. This Psalm is aligned with God’s purposes. In six powerful declarations, it states a clear understanding that God is completely against all acts of evil.
When I turn verses 4-6 into my own prayer, I have to confess my own wickedness and evil. To the degree that I think I can manage my life apart from the direction and power of God, I am an arrogant, prideful, boaster in need of God’s grace.
I also have to pray about the greatest enemy in my life – my own thinking that refuses to receive God’s direction. I often use verses 4-6 to tell God about how I am my own worst enemy.
The only way that we can stand before God is because of his steadfast love. God’s love overcomes our wickedness and opens the door for a relationship with him.
But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
will enter your house,
I will bow down toward your holy temple
in awe of you.
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness
because of my enemies;
make your way straight before me. (Psalm 5.7-8)
We are able to call on our awesome God because of the abundance of his steadfast love. “Steadfast love” is the closest word in the Old Testament to the New Testament word, “grace.”
It is by God’s steadfast love and grace that we can “cast all of our anxieties on him.”
As we rely on his abundant love, we can ask for God to direct us because of the enemies that trouble us. If you are like me, one of your biggest enemies is your own best thinking that seeks to live apart from God.
Spend a few minutes using the words of these verses to appreciate the love and grace of God. Tell him how thankful you are for his absolute goodness in your life.
To “bow” in verse 7 is a physical act that pictures submission to God. Use verses 7 and 8 to declare to God your willingness to be directed by him today.
Speakers of this Psalm have enemies who use words to injure the innocent. Their passionate prayer was for God’s vindication against lying and rebellious enemies.
For there is no truth in their mouths;
their hearts are destruction;
their throats are open graves;
they flatter with their tongues.
Make them bear their guilt, O God;
let them fall by their own counsels;
because of their many transgressions cast them out,
for they have rebelled against you. (Psalm 5.9-10)
If you are like me and are not aware of any enemies that fit the picture of these verses, try praying like this.
Use verse 9 to pray something like this: “Dear God, when I am living in self-will and according to my own best thinking there is no truth in my mouth. My inside condition will destroy me if it is not controlled by you. I flatter myself, but you know the real condition of my inner life.”
I use verse 10 in this manner. “Dear God, please cast out from me all of the self-will and pride that I choose in opposition to your good direction.”
A refuge is a safe place of protection. It is used 37 times in the Psalms. To be blessed is to be filled with God’s ability to succeed.
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
so that those who love your name may exult in you.
For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
you cover them with favor as with a shield. (Psalm 5.11-12)
As you end this prayer, remember that this is God’s word and it was inspired by God (2 Timothy 3.16). As such we can boldly ask our heavenly King and Father to give us the ability to succeed today. We can pray with confidence the words of this Psalm.
Obviously, we can thank him and praise him for his amazing goodness.
May we pray for you.
Maywood Baptist Church has a prayer team who is honored to pray for any concern you may have. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. I will make sure the prayer team receives your prayer request.
May God richly bless your prayers today.