Psalm 5:1-3 (NIV): Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.
Many people today don’t really pray. They throw a few requests up toward heaven, but they don’t really connect to God at the start, they speak their requests, and then they move on. For that reason, a lot of people today consider prayer to be a duty, a discipline, and one of dubious effectiveness at that.
But David, when he prayed, really prayed! And his prayers were answered. David learned to pray while watching his sheep. Out there in the fields, far from other companionship, he would just talk to God. He would thank God for His provision, for the beauty of the world, for the grass that He caused to grow that provided food for the sheep, which in turn provided food, clothing and shelter for him and his family. Later, when he was running from Saul, his prayers were more intense. But, as we can read in is Psalms, he continued to enter God’s gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. He always approached God, not as some grand concept, but as the One who loved him, and who continually demonstrated His love to him in concrete ways.
David kept his heart in tune with God. After his sin with Bath-Sheba, David understood that he had been cut off from God by his sin. That was a dark time, and one that left damage to his soul, and to the souls of his children that were never healed. But before that time, and after his repentance and restoration, David kept his heart in tune with God by living a life in harmony with God’s laws, and by his constant devotion to Him. So when David came to God, there was no barrier between them, no “spiritual gymnastics” that he had to go through in order to really connect with God.
Then, in the light of their relationship, David brought His requests to God. Sometimes they were mundane and even trivial: food for the day; a successful lambing season; the ability to find the exact stick or rock for something that he was building. Sometimes his requests were urgent: deliverance from Saul and his troops that were just on the other side of the mountain; food and shelter for him and his men in the wilderness; the ability to rescue his wives and children from the Amalekites. But in all of them, whether large or small, trivial or vital, he brought them solemnly into God’s presence, laid them at the foot of His throne, and then, secure in the fact that they had connected, he waited in expectation to see the answers.
Not many prayers of David are recorded in the historical narratives in the Bible. But the Psalms are loaded with them. And they all share the common characteristics of praise, confidence in the relationship based on a heart in tune with God, experience of a vital, real-time connection between David and God, simple sharing of real needs, assurance that the requests had not only been made, but received, and expectation of the answer.
Father, these elements are easy to see when I look for them. Help me always to pray to You in the same, intimate way. Amen.