Psalm 143 – The Psalms School of Prayer

Reading Time: 6 Minutes

This is the last Psalm where the speaker asks something from God in the entire Book of Psalms. The remainder of the Psalms will feature praise, worship and thanksgiving to God.

The people of God have used this Psalm during times of distress and at the time of death.

The Psalm was used by Reformation leaders, Luther and Calvin, as a reference to the need for all persons to experience God’s salvation through Jesus.

Hear My Prayer

Like so many Psalms that ask something from God, this one begins with a request for God to hear the prayer.

Hear my prayer, O Lord;
give ear to my supplications in your faithfulness;
answer me in your righteousness.
Do not enter into judgment with your servant,
for no one living is righteous before you.
(Psalm 143.1-2)

Prayer is dependence on God’s faithfulness and righteousness. No one lives in a right standing before God without the grace of God.

One of the quaint saying you have probably heard is, “Prayer changes things. It changes the person who prays it.”

There may be some truth to that saying, but this Psalm makes it perfectly clear that a response from God is both desired and needed. Only a loving and faithful God can accomplish what is needed.

My Life is Crushed

When Saint Augustine wrote about this Psalm, the Romans were accusing Christians for all that was wrong in the Empire. Throughout all generations there have been issues that seem to crush God’s people.

For the enemy has pursued me,
crushing my life to the ground,
making me sit in darkness like those long dead.
Therefore my spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled.
(Psalm 143-3-4)

We truly can bring every issue of life to God. When we pray about our difficulties and sorrow, we are not talking to ourselves. We are talking to the One who can come to our aid.

Think about all of the people who came to Jesus. Most of them came with some sort of a need. Lepers wanted to be cleansed. The blind and deaf wanted to see and hear. Those enslaved to evil wanted freedom.

Jesus never turned anyone away. He received every person and acted on everyone of their requests. We truly can tell him about our grief, loneliness, fear, addiction and so much more. He is there for us.

Answer Me Quickly

Like a child who has had a nightmare and is cuddled by a parent until returning to sleep, the speaker needed the reassurance of God’s presence.

Answer me quickly, O Lord;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me,
or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.
Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning,
for in you I put my trust.
Teach me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
(Psalm 143-7-8)

The year 2020 will go down in history as one of the most difficult that our world has ever faced.

Like the speaker in this Psalm, we can trust God to be present with his steadfast love. In addition, we can appeal to God for his direction.

God does not give people a map, when they ask for guidance. Instead, he takes us by the hand and walks along with us, showing us the way.

Let the stress of 2020 guide you into the good hands of our Savior. He desires our friendship, even as he is willing to be our guide.

Three Appeals for Help

Notice how strongly the speaker appeals for God’s help. He knows that no one can be righteous before God, but that does not stop his bold requests.

Save me, O Lord, from my enemies;
I have fled to you for refuge.
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
Let your good Spirit lead me
on a level path.
(Psalm 143.9-10)

We have been studying Psalms as a school of prayer for a few months. Verses 9-10 teach us to pray for three universal needs.

— Save me from my enemies.

Whether our enemies are an empire that seeks to blame all of its troubles on Christians, or a new virus, or a habitual sin, we can always ask God to save us.

— Teach me to do your will.

We don’t have to learn God’s will all by ourselves and without any outside help. We can ask God to teach us what is his will, and we can be assured that he will help us accomplish it.

— Let your good Spirit lead me.

God’s is happy to give us his Spirit to walk with us at all times, directing our paths. All we have to do is ask for his presence and leadership, and then follow his direction.

Bring Me Out of Trouble

How can people approach God with such boldness. The concluding verses of the Psalm provides four reasons why we can ask God for his help.

For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life.
In your righteousness bring me out of trouble.
In your steadfast love cut off my enemies,
and destroy all my adversaries,
for I am your servant.
(Psalm 143.11-12)

(1) God’s Reputation – When we pray in “Jesus’ name,” or the “name of God,” we link God’s reputation with the answer to the prayer.

God’s name, like the name of any other person, speaks of his reputation. We are encouraged to connect the answer to our prayer with the reputation God has for loving kindness and mercy.

(2) God’s Righteousness – We can never appeal to our own righteousness for answered prayer. However, we can turn to God’s righteousness and ask him for the help we need.

The entire life and ministry of Jesus opened the door for unrighteous people to enter the presence of a righteous God and call upon him for assistance.

(3) God’s Steadfast Love – God’s steadfast love and grace are elements of his character that encourage us to come to him.

Without his amazing character, we would have no hope of answered prayer. Praise God for who he is and how he responds to us.

(4) We are God’s Servants – He is the Lord and we are his servants.

As the Master of his servants, God has the responsibility of their care.

Just as employers give their workers what they need to accomplish their work, so God gives his servants what is needed for their service to him.

May We Pray for You?

Maywood Baptist Church’s prayer team is honored to pray for you. Please email me at bsprad49@gmail.com or private message me on Facebook. I will pray for you and so will the prayer team.

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