David's prayers in Psalms a model for us in times of crisis
By Clay Perkins
Saturday, January 19, 2019
“Hear me, Lord, my plea is just; listen to my cry. Hear my prayer.” — Psalm 17:1 (The Bible, New International Version)
Have you ever been in need of prayer, really in need? Has life ever become so overwhelming that you had nowhere to turn? Nowhere to hide? Have you ever just cried out in a loud voice spontaneously begging for help, for mercy? I have.
Prayer in times of crisis can be very different from prayer in times of comfort when all is going well in your life. In Psalm 17 we read that David was feeling overwhelmed by life. Some of his enemies were foreign (e.g., Philistines), some were from his own country (e.g., Saul), and some were even family members (e.g., Absalom). Pressure comes from all places at times, does it not? There are only five Psalms titled as prayers (17, 86, 90, 102, and 142). Other Psalms are likely prayers, but these are identified as such. In this prayer by a spiritual leader whose life was very difficult, we find a model for our prayers during our own time of crisis.
Like David, you and I have a faithful ally. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is our God, too. We will have hard times in our lives, but we have an ally, a friend that sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).
In times of crisis, pray for justice. David did (Verses 2-5). I am impressed with David’s clear conscience and boldness before God as he cried out for justice. I wonder if our prayers are sometimes just too weak. Be confident that God will hear your case. God stands ready to provide justice when we have a pure heart and clean hands. Do not be afraid to boldly approach God with freedom and confidence (Ephesians 3:12). He stands for justice throughout the ages.
Pray for protection (Verses 6-9). Why? Because God will answer because He loves you. Who would be foolish enough to seek help from someone or something that cannot help at all? It breaks our heart when we hear that someone cried out for help and mercy, but no one responded. It heals our heart when we hear that someone cried out for help and mercy, and someone responded. God will answer. God will help. Every time. We are the apple of His eye (Deuteronomy 32:10, 11). We are His children and the center of His attention. As it has been said, “If God had a refrigerator, your artwork would be on it.” He loves you, His child, that much. (John 3:16) So, in times of crisis, cry out and pray. God will protect you.
Pray for the right people to be around you. Ask God to put good people in your life. Beg God to remove bad company from your path. It may sound harsh, but not everyone is good for you. There were those around David with callous hearts, some so callous that they were eager to kill him. What a nightmare his life was at times.
What are your nightmares? Loneliness? Unemployment? Bad relationship? Finances? Whatever they are, boldly ask God to rid them from your life. Ask God to replace them with good dreams. With good friends. With peace. Grow in your fellowship with God and good people.
There is a way to pray when all odds are against us, and David models that for us. Scream for justice. Cry out for protection. Ask for the right people to surround you. And know for sure that God is able to answer your prayers in times of crisis.
Clay Perkins is an adjunct professor at Mid-Atlantic Christian University. The opinions expressed in this column belong to the author and may not be those of the university.