Praying through the Psalms

Praying through the Psalms

Friday, May 26, 2017

Should We Examine Our Hearts Before We Pray?

Psalm 17

A prayer of David.

Hear me, Lord, my plea is just;
    listen to my cry.
Hear my prayer—
    it does not rise from deceitful lips.
Let my vindication come from you;
    may your eyes see what is right.
Though you probe my heart,
    though you examine me at night and test me,
you will find that I have planned no evil;
    my mouth has not transgressed.
Though people tried to bribe me,
    I have kept myself from the ways of the violent
    through what your lips have commanded.
My steps have held to your paths;
    my feet have not stumbled.
I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
    turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.

Once again we get a glimpse into David's intimate prayer life with the Lord. David starts the psalm asking God to hear his cry, for he is just and there is no deceit in him.  He says, "God you already know everything.  Search me and test my heart see if there is anything offensive in me."  

Since prayer is a conversation with God, we see that David interacts with God as he prays.  Though he is surrounded by enemies, He know God cares and will act to deliver him.  But there is also a sense that David takes stock of his life as he approaches God.  He knows that God holds him as, "the apple of his eye", but he still knows God requires an honest and transparent heart as we come before him.  It seems as if he is saying, "Before I ask anything, judge my heart and life." He points to his life and uses the example of someone trying to bribe him.    

When we are praying it is always a good thing to examine our own lives.  David says that though you examine and test me at night (presumably when bad things happen!), you will find I have no planned evil.  Though none of us our perfect, it is good to ask if we have any evil planned.  Anything we are planning on doing that we know is wrong.  It is then that in our honesty we can turn from what we know is wrong and put our trust in God.  We are then in a position to present our requests with a clean conscience.  

When you pray do you consider your heart condition before God? God is not just like Santa Claus, who we ask for stuff and hope we have been a good boy or girl.  Prayer is a mutually interactive exercise in our faith in the One who hears and answers us.  The next time you pray, take time to examine and test your heart. Talking to God is a good time to take stock of our own lives before we pray for others. 

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