Reading Time: 7 Minutes
I won’t rehearse the troubles that our world is currently facing. You are probably like me and are tired of the endless news of problems in America and around the world. Instead, you long for a time of peace, kindness, and health to return to our world.
You also probably realize that the fruit of God’s Spirit – peace, joy, love, patience, kindness – is God’s design for our world. You know that you have a role to play in seeing that God’s plan comes to earth.
Galatians 5.22-23 provides a picture of a preferred future for our world, our country, our neighborhoods, our families and ourselves. It says, “But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control.”
As we place God’s vision beside the current events of today, our role is to pray and to join God in his activity in the world. A good place to start is to pray Psalm 28 with fervency.
A Cry for Help
We begin the prayer with a desire to enter into the presence of God, asking for a meaningful encounter.
O Lord, my defender, I call to you.
Listen to my cry!
If you do not answer me,
I will be among those who go down to the world of the dead.
Hear me when I cry to you for help,
when I lift my hands toward your holy Temple. (Psalm 28.1-2)
Let’s not miss the posture and passion of prayer. The speaker stood with hands raised in the direction of the Temple, the place where the presence of God was most manifest.
When we raise our hands, we invite God to examine our spiritual condition. Raised hands also reach out to God for his help, and are open to receive what we need from him.
The prayer is not casual. The speaker called out for God to hear the appeal. In addition, he cried for help.
As we compare what we see in this world with what could be if God’s Spirit were allowed to rule and reign, tears are in order.
Be encouraged, the Holy Spirit joins us in our prayers. Paul wrote, “In the same way the Spirit also comes to help us, weak as we are. For we do not know how we ought to pray; the Spirit himself pleads with God for us in groans that words cannot express” (Romans 8.26).
Not Condemned with Culture
Here’s something I have learned from living in the “church world” for over 50 years. The church has a tendency to condemn sins that we don’t commit and are seemingly unconcerned about sins that are common to us.
For example, a pastor will be removed for committing adultery – and rightfully so. However, a pastor can be angry, divisive, and greedy and suffer no consequences for that behavior. We need to be careful to not condemn the “speck” in the other’s eye, but fail to notice the plank that is in ours (Matthew 7.3-5).
Do not condemn me with the wicked,
with those who do evil—
those whose words are friendly,
but who have hatred in their hearts.
Punish them for what they have done,
for the evil they have committed.
Punish them for all their deeds;
give them what they deserve!
They take no notice of what the Lord has done
or of what he has made;
so he will punish them
and destroy them forever. (Psalm 28.3-5)
“Wicked” is a word that is seldom used today, unless it is slang to describe a car or a new tattoo. The word “wicked” recognizes the presence of evil in the world. The system of this world, human self-seeking, and demonic forces oppose God’s purposes and bring great suffering to humanity.
The first thing we should pray concerning evil is what the speaker prayed, “Do not condemn me with the wicked, with those who do evil” (verse 3). Let’s ask God to examine our hearts. We may not commit sins that are commonly decried by the church, but do we gossip, have judgmental attitudes or pride or greed – or more?
Our second prayer should be for God to conquer the hearts of evil and wicked people. Jesus taught us to love our enemies (Matthew 5.43-47). Doubtless, our enemies are those who have wicked hearts and intend evil for us. Love for God and his purposes includes asking for the love of Jesus to transform the wicked, who may be also our enemies.
The third part of this prayer recognizes the fact of judgment. God reaches out in love to teach people the paths of life. When his teaching and love is rejected, the wicked will be separated from God and people who have responded to his love.
Charles Spurgeon often said, “Never speak about hell without tears in your eyes.” The reality of judgment on wicked and evil people should bring us to tears as we pray today.
Praise and Prayer
Psalm 28 begins with hands lifted to God in prayer. It ends with hands raised in praise. Even while our prayer is awaiting an answer from heaven, we can praise God and trust that he has heard us and is active in bringing an answer.
Give praise to the Lord;
he has heard my cry for help.
The Lord protects and defends me;
I trust in him.
He gives me help and makes me glad;
I praise him with joyful songs.
The Lord protects his people;
he defends and saves his chosen king. (Psalm 28.6-8)
Prayer begins in trust. We pray because we believe that God will act. Returning to Galatians 5, we can be certain that God desires to bring to the earth “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control.” We can pray in confidence for this to transpire.
When we see God bringing to pass whatever we have prayed for, it will further increase our ability to trust him. Praise is added to our faith, because we have seen God’s answer before our eyes.
Prayer for the People
Psalm 28 ends with a prayer for the people.
Save your people, Lord,
and bless those who are yours.
Be their shepherd,
and take care of them forever. (Psalm 28.9)
Save . . . bless . . . be their shepherd . . . take care of them.
What a great way to pray for the world on November 3, 2020. Please take these four prayer requests and ask God to do them for the world today.
Maywood Baptist Church has a prayer team that is committed to praying for you. Please email me at email@example.com or private message me on Facebook. I will pray for you and ask the team to pray, too.