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Prayer by the Numbers!
Christian Devotional by Pastor Cecil Thompson

Cecil Thompson

Psalm 86:1-7

"Hear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Guard my life, for I am devoted to You. You are my God; save Your servant who trusts in You. Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to You all day long. Bring joy to Your servant, for to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to You. Hear my prayer, O LORD; listen to my cry for mercy. In the day of my trouble I will call to You, for You will answer me."

You may have a handle on prayer, but I certainly do not. I am convinced that what little I seem to know about prayer is based upon what I have heard others pray in my presence, and I fail to see a description of that type of praying in Scripture.

Most generally we gather for our prayer meetings with want lists of the answers we seek from the Lord. At times it even progresses beyond that as some even seem to have the audacity to begin to tell God what He is to do. HELP!! May the Lord forgive our impudence and self-centeredness.

In the pattern of prayer I see in Scripture, a different approach to prayer is given. It is far superior than the long, flowery prayers that we often pray or hear others pray.

I thought it would be interesting to dissect this prayer of David which we see in today's Scripture. You may recall your biology class in high school when you had to dissect a frog to see the inner parts. Please don't squirm on me! It will not smell of formaldehyde—but I hope it will be even more productive.


As I read through these seven verses, I see at least seven requests: (1) "Hear and answer me." (2) "Guard my life." (3) "Save Your servant." (4) "Have mercy on me." (5) "Bring joy to your servant." (6) "Hear my prayer." (7) "Listen to my cry for mercy."

As I read over these seven requests, I notice how they are directed at himself. I have heard some people say that such prayers as these are selfish. That is not the case. David was expressing his personal bankrupt condition and that it was only the Lord who could help.

Not only is it unselfish praying, it is an acknowledgement of personal inadequacy. It is nothing like the prayer of the Pharisee in Luke 18:11. That man boasted of his condition. David opened his heart and exposed his need. It is only beginning. Look at his personal condition.

David uses five terms to describe his condition: (1) “I am Poor and needy.” (2) “I am devoted to You.” (3) “I trust You.” (4) “I call on You all day long.” (5) “To You I lift up my soul.”

Such openness and honesty brings the one who is praying into the presence of Almighty God as a small child who is totally reliant upon his Father to take him by the hand and care for him. YES!

There are three statements that David uses to acknowledge the qualities which God possesses: (1) “You are my God.” (2) “You are forgiving and good.” (3) “You are abounding in love to all who call to You.”

Much more could be said about the loving God we serve, but David has hit the core qualities which give him the confidence to call upon the name of the Lord. Here is the way David concludes his prayer: "In the day of my trouble I will call to You, for You will answer me." What assurance and total confidence. In all of our faults and shortcomings, we know that when we call to the Lord, he will hear us and answer in His own way.

Blessings dear hearts. Draw near to God today, trust Him completely and be a blessing!

--- Pastor Cecil


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