Before I followed God’s leading into full-time vocational ministry, I wanted to be an architect. I love design and structure. Did you know that our prayer life and our prayers need structure as well? Theologian D. A. Carson writes, “We do not drift into spiritual life; we do not drift into disciplined prayer. We will not grow in prayer unless we plan to pray.”
The arrangement of this psalm is consistent with traditional Jewish prayers. The order establishes the precedence of moving from praise to petition. This approach to prayer was to first express repentance, praise, and adoration toward God and only afterward express petition. This prayer from David was likely sung in connection with the prayers at the Temple’s morning offerings (v. 3). David recognizes Yahweh as the true King and that, as an earthly king, he is simply occupying the Lord’s throne (v. 2). David then transitions to God’s holiness and fatherly compassion. In verses 4–6, David clearly contrasts God’s sacredness with the evilness of humanity. A right understanding of who God is and who we are correctly positions us to pray prayers that are pleasing to the Lord.
David emphasizes the only reason he can enter the Lord’s house and worship is His extraordinary love (v. 7). The word David uses for love specifically points to the Lord’s covenant love for His people. Now, he feels he can make his request to God. In verses 8 to 10, David asks the Lord to declare his enemies guilty because of their many sins. David’s petition is not merely for their punishment, but rather for the Lord to be exalted. He concludes by confidently asking for protection for those who follow the Lord (vv. 11–12). David planned his prayer and the Lord answered.
>> Consider how you structure your prayer. Do you typically start with an ask? Today, try beginning with praise and repentance. Getting in the right mindset and perspective allow our prayers to be more theologically aligned with God’s will for our life.
Gracious God, creation proclaims your creative majesty. You are the standard of holiness, truth, and justice. You made us to worship you, and this we do with joy!