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Our community group is going through the book of psalms this month. I could go for hours on why the Psalms are fantastic, but Psalm 5 stood out to me specifically this week, because in it God through David provides very specific instructions on how to call to God when we are troubled.

The Sounds of Calling Out to God:

Words– “give ear to my words, O Lord” Our God has given us lips that we would not only praise Him, but also call to Him in our troubles. He desires to hear our voice (v.3). May we never assume that God does not have time to hear us. He always has time, He always hears, and He is the perfect father who always desires to listen.

Groaning– “consider my groaning” God does not require that we bring to him our neat prayer requests, all sorted out and from a purified, chaste heart. He understands that life on this earth will cause us to groan (Rom. 8:26), and provides for our weakness by giving us a Holy Spirit who even understands our groanings in pain and confusion and can be our translator before the throne of God (Rom. 8:27)

Crying out– “give attention to the sound of my cry” In the same way that He understands our indiscernible groanings, God also hears our clear cries for help. Whether we come to God in confused groans, or in clear cries that are expressive and full of desire, He hears us. Praise Him for His grace and favor!

Actions of Calling Out:

Prayer– “for to you do I pray” While we see above that prayer can be very dynamic and varied based on our circumstances, we must remember that it is still always necessary! We are allowed flexibility in prayer, but we are not allowed to NOT pray! The answers are always with Him, waiting to be poured out from His throne of grace.

Worship in fear & confidence– “But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you”. How can we, sinful people with a rightful fear of a holy God, still enter into His presence without the harsh fear of being burned up? We have confidence “Through the abundance of [His] steadfast love”. David knew he was called and loved by God, and that God is always faithful to complete whatever He starts. So if God started to love David, His faithful and steadfast love would continue toward David his whole life. This was David’s confidence, and it is ours (Phil. 1:6)

Watching– “in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch” What an often forgotten action of calling out to God: WATCHING FOR ANSWERS! If we truly believe that God hears us, let us lay all our desires and our very selves before Him (Rom. 12:1), willing to receive whatever He would give back (Ps. 5:8), and watching eagerly for Him to answer our prayers. When was the last time you quietly waited before the Lord? That you eagerly listened for His voice? For His response to your prayers? Let us listen, and let us watch. He will answer.

Reasons to Want Deliverance:

Aren’t the motives behind our prayers so important? When we ask for deliverance, are we asking for the right reasons?

That God’s people would praise Him– “that those who love your name may exult in you” (Ps. 5:11) Do I desire deliverance so that God would be glorified, or perhaps just so that I would be more comfortable? What a heart check! David’s reason for desiring deliverance was that God’s name might be vindicated– THIS is what made David a man after God’s own heart: a desire for God’s name and pleasure above all else. Let us pray for a heart like this, trusting that God will deliver us when it most glorifies Him.

That God’s people would be filled with Joy– “let them ever sing for joy” (Ps. 5:11)  David desired the greatest joy for God’s people- a joy that comes from knowing God as our refuge. Let us pray for the joy of all peoples, which is found in the refuge of God. Let us remember to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters across the world, that their joy would be made full in the refuge found in God, who is our comfort no matter our circumstances (2 Cor. 1:3-5)

I am so grateful to take lessons from a man after God’s own heart. Praise God for His inspired Word, and for examples like David.
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