Reading: Psalm 17: 1-7
Verse One: Hear, O Lord, my righteous plea, listen to my cry.
The psalmist cries out to God for an answer to his prayer: “Hear, O Lord, my righteous plea, listen to my cry”. He asks God to “give ear” to what he requests. Then he adds a reminder to “see what is right”. He wants God to not only listen and to pay attention but to see it his way as well. This is a familiar prayer pattern for most of us today. We want God to hear our prayers and to answer as we have requested because, as you can see God, we are right and correct in what we are asking for.
To back up his case and to help God act on his behalf and in the way that he desires, the psalmist builds his case. He invites God to examine him and to test him. He is confident that God will not find any sin in his life. He reminds God that he has kept “the words of your lips” and has not followed the ways of the violent. The psalmist reminds God that he has “held to your paths”. Some of the time we also add similar reminders to our prayers. We add things like: went to church each Sunday, read Bible every day, served at the rescue mission last month… We remind God that we have not gossiped or caroused too much. We also build our case and on occasion we may even pray the “if You’ll only…” prayer.
The psalmist closes this section by again asking God to hear and answer. He requests that God would “show the wonder of your great love”. It’s almost as if he were reminding God of how much God loves us as a way to prompt God to show it by answering his prayers. It is an “if you really love me” kind of prayer. We too go here once in a while. We too imply that because God loves us, He should answer as we desire.
All of this seems to both bring God down to our level and to elevate our needs above God’s understanding. God knows our needs. God has plans to prosper us. May we bring our humble and honest prayers simply to God, trusting that He will hear and trusting that He will act according to His will and to His plans for us.