A Prayer from Psalm 119

I’m finishing up a two-week study of Psalm 119.  This longest chapter in the Bible is so rich I could spend at least 22 weeks on it – one week for every eight verses.  In my study, it asked the question “In what ways is each of the last eight verses (169-176) a prayer, and how it is applicable to today’s Christian?

And so…I did a little thinking, meditating, and digging.  Here’s what God gave me.
The Prayer
The Request or Reason
169 – Let my cry come before You,, O LORD
A ringing cry of entreaty, supplication in proclamation, joy, praise – comes from the verb form to shout or sing aloud
Give me understanding according to Your word
170 – Let my supplication come before You
favour, supplication (a cry for mercy) – verb form is to be gracious, show favor or pity
Deliver me according to Your word
171 – Let my lips utter praise
praise, song or hymn of praise; praise, adoration, thanksgiving (paid to God); act of general or public praise; praise-song (as title)
praise (demanded by qualities or deeds or attributes of God); renown, fame, glory – verb form to shine, praise, be boastful
You teach me Your statutes
172 – Let my tongue sing of Your word
Sing (speak/KJV) – anah
To answer or reply, to lift up the voice in response; pay attention and then respond; testify, give account, utter, witness
For all Your commandments are righteousness
173 – Let Your hand be ready to help me
Help, succor, support; surround, protect, aid
For I have chosen Your precepts
174 – I long for Your salvation
Long forta’ab
Your law is my delight
175 – Let my soul live that it may praise You
a primitive root; to be clear (orig. of sound, but usually of color); to shine; hence, to make a show, to boast; and thus to be (clamorously) foolish; to rave; causatively, to celebrate; also to stultify:—(make) boast (self), celebrate, commend, glory, give (light), shine
Let Your ordinances help me
176 – Seek Your servant
a primitive root; to search out (by any method, specifically in worship or prayer); by implication, to strive after:—ask, beg, beseech, desire, enquire, get, make inquisition, procure, (make) request, require, seek (for)
I have gone astray like a lost sheep … I do not forget Your commands
I see these eight verses as one prayer, or as a description of a life consumed with praise, prayer, worship, and obedience.  As I read through the word definitions and look at what the psalmist is asking for, it is all intertwined.  We can pattern our own prayer life in this way.  In verses 169 and 170, there is a cry for understanding, followed by a request for mercy and grace (asking God what His Word means, and then asking Him to carry out that Word in our life).  This is followed by praise to God, because He heard our cry, and acted on it, by teaching us His Word (verses 171 and 172).  In verse 173 and 174, we see a confirmation of commitment to God’s precepts and laws, which creates in us a strong desire for Him and a right to ask for His help (we are committed to obey).  In verse 175, we see a desire to live only to praise God, and a recognition again of the need for God’s promises and statutes to guide us in that “praise lifestyle.”  The psalm ends with a realization that left to ourselves, we will certainly go astray.  We ask for God to seek us (strive after us, search us out, desire us), and for our part, we will not forget His word.
What does this look like in everyday life?  Is it really practical?
Here’s an example.  Our daughter and son-in-law have had a desire for some time to move closer to “home.”  There is nothing in scripture that dictates we must live in a certain place, and it is perfectly normal to want to be near family.  But was that God’s specific will for their life?  They first began seeking wisdom from God, by praying for understanding.  Was it His will and desire, and should they pursue it?  While praying and seeking, they were faithful to be reading, studying and obeying God’s Word, continuing to be active in their own local church in worship and serving.  And so they waited.  They looked for jobs, and in time, God moved in specific ways and brought a wonderful job opportunity to my daughter with a Christian-based business in the very town they wanted to move to!  What was their response?  Praise!  God was answering and working, but there were other challenges to meet.  By faith, they put their house on the market, and God again moved and it sold in nine days!  What was their response?  Praise, and continued obedience.  By faith, my son-in-law gave his notice, not having any solid prospects for a job.  God again moved, and his company offered a transition period to work remotely from their new city.  What was their response?  Praise, and continued obedience.  So…the move has been made, and they are living in a new city they love.  What is their response the first weekend they are settled in their apartment?  To seek out a place of worship and service – they are looking for a church home.  Why?  They know that without continued obedience and worship of God, they will go astray.  They are asking for God to continue to pursue their hearts, and are committed not to forget His commands.
God’s word is so practical.  It’s lived out in everyday life.  And it’s really very simple.
Cry to God for understanding and deliverance, according to His Word.
Obey the Word He reveals to you – recognize He is true and righteous and will not lead you astray.  Walk in faith.
And then…praise Him!
Shout it, sing it, testify to it, make yourself foolish proclaiming it!
What understanding do you need today?
What challenges are facing you?  Big ones or littles ones – the method for meeting them is the same.


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