“Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness….”
As I work my way through the Psalms, using them for morning worship, the Spirit has brought to my attention a new emphasis: an appeal to God’s character as the basis for prayer. This has two aspects.
First is asking God to answer according to His qualities:
“…in your great love, O God, answer me in your sure salvation….Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of your love, in your great mercy, turn to me” (Ps. 69:13,16).
This means we can pray like this: “Lord, please answer me out of your love, out of your righteousness, out of your faithfulness, out of your wisdom, out of your goodness, out of your power, out of your grace.”
Such praying is in a strong way of submitting ourselves to His standards—His righteousness is much more exacting than my concept of what is righteous! His love may mean saying “no” to my present request in order to give me something better later. It is asking for His will to be done in a way that will reflect His character.
The second aspect has to do with appealing to God on the basis of what the answer to prayer will do for Him:
Help us, O Lord, for when you do, “then men will say, ‘Surely the righteous are rewarded; surely there is a God who judges the earth’” (Ps. 58:11).
“Not for our sake, GOD, no, not for our sake, but for your name’s sake, show your glory. Do it on account of your merciful love, do it on account of your faithful ways” (Ps. 115:1).
So we can pray, “Answer me for your Name’s sake, Lord, that men may know you are God, that men may know there is a God in the church.”
Praying this way certainly helps to refine our motives in asking for things: am I asking for my own comfort only, or is this really for God’s glory?
In asking God to act according to His character and for His glory, we are in no way “twisting God’s arm.” Instead we are focusing on the One who will decide how to answer in what is best, we are surrendering to His desire. This is joining Him in what He is doing. It is a step up in prayer.
Prayer: “Lord help me to pray in line with your Word, with your Will, in your Way. Guide me in incorporating these new insights into my prayer life. Answer me according to your wisdom, grace and goodness. Answer me so that those around me may see your glory. Amen.”