Prayers of David
David may well be the ideal example of how to pray. His prayers range in content from absolute despair to unbridled praise of God. David rose from the position of lowly shepherd to King of Israel. His life was filled with work, music, fear and excitement. He went from sleeping on the ground to absolute luxury. He experienced difficulties in many forms. Dangerous animals threatened the flocks in his care. David’s older brothers did not respect him when a youth. He experienced true friendship but also experienced the extreme dangers of hatred. David was hardened by war. He defeated Goliath as a youth, led Saul’s armies in victory and later led his own military to expand and protect the kingdom of Israel. The common thread in David’s life was his love for and devotion to God. David poured out his heart to God in every facet of his life.
David’s heart was set on building a house for his God. God denied that request but promised to provide a far greater blessing to David. That blessing was that God would build David a house! That meant the permanence of David’s lineage on the throne. David is rightfully humbled and appropriately grateful. “Then King David went in and sat before the Lord; and he said: “Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far? And yet this was a small thing in Your sight, O Lord God; and You have also spoken of Your servant’s house for a great while to come. Is this the manner of man, O Lord God? Now what more can David say to You? For You, Lord God, know Your servant. For Your word’s sake, and according to Your own heart, You have done all these great things, to make Your servant know them. Therefore You are great, O Lord God. For there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears.” (2 Samuel 7:18–22 NKJV)
David prayed for help when unsure how events would unfold. Such was the case when evading Saul’s armies when Saul was actively seeking to take David’s life. (1 Samuel 23:10–13) David consulted God for guidance following Saul’s death. God instructed David to go to Hebron where he would be established as king. (2 Samuel 2:1-7) Troubles in life compound our fear and anxiety. David recognized his need for God when circumstances began to overwhelm. “My eyes are ever toward the Lord, For He shall pluck my feet out of the net. Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me, For I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have enlarged; Bring me out of my distresses! Look on my affliction and my pain, And forgive all my sins. Consider my enemies, for they are many; And they hate me with cruel hatred. Keep my soul, and deliver me; Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You.” (Psalm 25:15-21 NKJV)
God considered David a “man after His own heart.” (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22) Even so, David strayed from God. He took the wife, and then the life, of a loyal subject. Confronted with the reality of what he had done, David turned back to God. “So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.” Then Nathan departed to his house. And the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and it became ill. David therefore pleaded with God for the child, and David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. So the elders of his house arose and went to him, to raise him up from the ground. But he would not, nor did he eat food with them.” (2 Samuel 12:13-17 NKJV) Sometimes the greatest pain we experience is guilt for the pain we have inflicted on others. God is able and willing to forgive.
Ultimately, we desire mercy for ourselves and justice for the ungodly. David often prayed for deliverance and then for justice. “Have mercy on me, O Lord! Consider my trouble from those who hate me, You who lift me up from the gates of death, 14 That I may tell of all Your praise In the gates of the daughter of Zion. I will rejoice in Your salvation.” (Psalm 9:13-14 NKJV)
Loving God means keeping His commandments. Trusting God means sharing your heart with Him in all circumstances. Pray.