O LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief. Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.
The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in darkness like those long dead. So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed. I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.
Answer me quickly, O LORD; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD, for I hide myself in you.
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble. In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.
Notice how direct David’s prayer is here. He didn’t feel the need to compose formal and flowery prose when asking God for help. I agree that his worship psalms are beautifully poetic but I think that was more the work of the Holy Spirit. When David needed help, he wasn’t afraid to ask in a very straight forward way, as if he was commanding God to step in and make things right, and on David’s schedule no less. I don’t see this as impertinence on David’s part, and I don’t think he was being presumptuous. I think it was an indication of his great faith. He expected God to answer his prayers and in the passion of the moment just blurted out what he needed. He obviously didn’t think it was necessary to be formal, or tentative, or even polite.
I’ve noticed this with other great men of God as well. Abraham said, “Far be it from you to do such a thing, to kill the righteous with the wicked.” (Genesis18:25) Moses said, ” What will the Egyptians think? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster upon your people.” (Exodus 32:11-12) And that perpetual gentleman Daniel said, “O Lord listen! O Lord forgive! O Lord hear and act! “ (Daniel 9:20)
These men were not being disrespectful to God, nor did they see themselves as His equal. But neither did they hesitate to remind Him of promises He had made. In Abraham’s case it was His righteousness. With Moses it was His promise to bring the Jews out of Egypt, and with Daniel it was His promise to bring Israel back after the Babylonian captivity. No, it wasn’t impertinence. It was their faith in Him that allowed them to be so bold. They knew He had made a promise and they knew He keeps His promises. Period. End of story.
Often when observing people in prayers for healing or other kinds of help I’ve noticed how tentative many of us are in approaching God, as if we have no right to ask anything of Him. But by some accounts, the Bible contains over 7,000 promises from God, and what He has promised, He will do. To the Jews He said, “It’s not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I’m going to do these things, but for the sake of My Holy Name” (Ezekiel 36:22). He didn’t restore them as a nation because they deserved it, He did it because He said He would. If that’s true for them, why wouldn’t it be true for us? Why wouldn’t He be working everything together for our good? (Romans 8:28) Why wouldn’t the prayer offered in faith make the sick person well? (James 5:15) Why wouldn’t all our needs be met if we seek His Kingdom and His Righteousness? (Matt. 6:25-33) In fact why wouldn’t we be made rich in every way so we can be generous on every occasion? (2 Cor. 9:11) Is it because He no longer keeps His promises, or because we no longer expect Him to?