Pray This Way, Sometimes

Need help from God? Pray!

That’s what David does in Psalm 70. Here’s how he begins.

Make haste, O God, to deliver me; make haste to help me, O LORD. (Psalm 70:1)

Does this strike you as an odd or informal way to begin a prayer to God? Yet it seems that David was not overly concerned about the pattern, structure or order of his prayer. He just prayed, especially since he appeared to be facing an urgent need.

It is true that we have the Lord’s model prayer, which tells us to say, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” Then it teaches us to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done in earth as in heaven.” Etc.

And while it is generally good to praise God before you make requests, and to confess your need before you ask for help, sometimes you just need to pray without the encumbrance of a set structure.

Sometimes you need to pray without the encumbrance of a set structure.

Unless I’m missing something, the Lord’s prayer presents us with key elements of a healthy prayer life, but not so much with a patented order for every prayer. When you pray, your prayers should generally include the kind of things you see in that prayer: awareness of God as father, submission to his will, requests for forgiveness, dependence for daily provision, and dependence for deliverance from temptation. So you should scan your prayer life to see if you pray in this way overall.

But here in Psalm 70:1, you that David opens his prayer immediately with an urgent call for help. “Help me God! Help me quickly! I need you! It’s urgent!” And sometimes that’s the best way to get started.

Do you ever have moments like this, needing wisdom to know what to say, strength to resist a temptation, discernment to make the right decision, or intervention by God to resolve a situation?

Well, don’t fail to pray. Come out with it. Let it be your heart’s mature, immediate reaction to say, “Help! I need you God!” He answers that sort of prayer.

Pray for evil plans to fail.

Let them be ashamed and confounded that seek after my soul: let them be turned backward, and put to confusion, that desire my hurt. Let them be turned back for a reward of their shame that say, Aha, aha. (Psalm 70:2-3)

Now here is an interesting question. In this Psalm and in others, you find what some Bible teachers call “imprecatory prayers.” What is that? It is a prayer for your enemies to fail. Is this a good thing to pray for? Can we pray for this today? How does this relate to the instructions of Jesus to pray for your enemies?

Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. (Luke 6:28)

How can you pray for your enemies and against your enemies at the same time? Here’s how you can do that.

  1. Pray for God to bless those who are a source of evil in your lives. After all, the goodness of God brings people to repentance (Romans 2:4).
  2. But pray for their evil plans to fail, as David does in Psalm 70:2-3. Evil is always evil. You should not pray for it. In fact, you can always pray for evil plans and evil intentions to fail. And though they may not fail immediately, you can expect them to fail in the end.

Praise God Continually, Even in Difficult Times.

Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: And let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified. (Psalm 70:4)

Learn to magnify God when you experience difficulties in this life. Did you catch that? When you are experiencing difficulties. Praise God continually.

What does this mean in simple terms? It means that you should learn to keep on saying “God is great,” even when you are experiencing difficult circumstances. Is this what you do?

You should learn to keep on saying “God is great!”

This is a good habit to develop. But somewhere along the line it needs to become more than a habit. It needs to become your true, inner heart attitude. It needs to be more than what you say. It needs to become what you truly believe. But if it is not, say it anyway.

Do you believe this? Are you really seeking God? Are you relishing opportunities to experience his deliverance? Well then, when you face a trial, how do you respond?

The Kingda Ka Coaster

  • Do you fall into depression?
  • Do you have a pity party?
  • Do you fall away from church and your quiet time with God?
  • Do you complain?
  • Do you do foolish things?

Or do you behave like people who paid good money to visit Six Flags and are now at the peak of the Kingda Ka, getting ready for the tallest and second fastest roller coast free-fall in the world, a drop of 456 feet, at a speed of up to 128 mph?

When you get to spots like this in life, you should hold on tight (or throw up your hands in your heart) and cry out for God’s help. Say, “Here we go, God is great! God is great! I need you God! I need you right now! God you are great!”

Believe that you are helpless and needy, no matter who you are.

But I am poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God: Thou art my help and my deliverer; O LORD, make no tarrying. (Psalm 70:5)

Urgency is a good thing sometimes. You see here that David returns to what he said at the beginning of this very short prayer. I need you God! Please hurry!

What I find especially remarkable here is that David calls himself poor and helpless. And he wasn’t just saying this as a theological technicality or a religious formality. He actually believed it.

Why is this noteworthy? Because he was God’s anointed king over the entire nation. He was a very powerful and very wealthy man. But he understood that before God, he was truly helpless and needy. Do you believe the same thing when you pray?

Or do you resemble the first-century church in Laodicea? Jesus said this about them:

Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. (Revelation 3:17)

Whether you realize it or not, moments that demand short, urgent prayers for help from a great God occur quite frequently. Yet we fail to see them and fail to pray as we should. Conversations at home, at church, at work, with friends, etc. Temptations, decisions, conversations of all kinds challenge us to respond the right way and require quite prayers to a great God. But do you pray? Do you pray like this, or are you so accustomed to these moments that they don’t seem like a big deal, so you don’t even ask God for help?

May these simple lessons from David’s prayer in Psalm 70 enable you to grow in your own prayers to God, because you are helpless and needy, whether you realize it or not.

You are helpless and needy, whether you realize it or not.

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