A Prayer Pouring Out of Psalm 119


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I am presently preaching through the stanzas of Psalm 119 and it has been a spiritually enriching exercise.  Today, I am struck by my need to pray through this Psalm as I preach through it.  One of the greatest things about verse-by-verse preaching is its sanctifying effect on the preacher.  What follows come from the handwritten prayer in my journal as I worked through Psalm 119:17-24 (The Trials That Come our Way).  The prayer was motivated by the cross-references that I followed as the sermon notes unfolded.

Psalm 119:167—O Lord, my desire is that I would keep your testimonies.  I want those that testify of your grace in my life.  My great need of your grace is evident from the moment I get up in the morning until I lay down at night.  I am need of great grace that flows from You into my life so that in some small measure it will flow into the lives of those around me.  Increasingly, I am aware of that sniveling grace that would give me room for my own personal sins but would hold others to a much higher level.  Gracious God, I plead for your testimony of grace to help me to be more long-suffering with others while I hold my own life to a higher level of commitment the Cross calls for.  I also need Your testimony of holiness to be present in my life.  Not a legalistic “holiness” that is more mindful of outward practice at the expense of inner spiritual poverty but a holiness that is so consumed with Your nature that my entire being; intellect, conscience, thinking, decisions, and direction all give honor to You.  Let me love your testimonies more than anything in life. 

Psalm 119:127—Great God, help me to love your Word more than the finest gold that is on our planet.  Please do not let me fall into the trap of loving money or the things that money can buy.  You have blessed me beyond what I deserve.  I have abundance, I have possessions, I have things I can put my hands on, I have places I can go because of means You have provided, and I have more than enough to meet my needs.  Deliver me from the slippery places this material world has bought into of thinking that our possessions are what define our position in Your Kingdom.  What fine gold can afford me in this world will matter so very little in the world to come.  Therefore, whatever gold that comes through my hands in this life, I pray that you help me to use it wisely to advance Your Kingdom’s principles.  I need your grace ever so much that I do not abuse what You have blessed me with monetarily.  Please. . . I plead with You to help me to remember that what fine gold will buy in this world will one day be destroyed.  Help me to love Your Word more than fine gold!  Help me to remember that what Your Word has brought into my life is eternal and will never pass away.  May my life be given to the eternal more than the material!   

Psalm 119:97—Lord, help me to love to study Your Word.  Don’t let me just study the Book to be an articulate polished orator that weak-minded people would be impressed with.  I pray your deliver me from a carnal study of Your Word that is motivated by a need to hear
the false flattery of other preachers whom I might try to impress with philosophical wanderings similar to the way a dog chases its tail.  Lord, please help me to study Your Word in a way that I do not have to seek out empty cisterns of feeble, loud, flamboyant “prophets” that fill the landscape of the Pentecostal movement.  I pray as well that You would help me to love to study Your Word so that I do not seek out “words” of direction from academic eggheads who are just as foolish as loud, haranguing “prophets.”  Deliver me from their dry, lifeless and academic takes on the supposed “mistakes” that is in Your inerrant Word.  God, please help me to not just love to study Your Word but to immerse my mind, my life, and my calling in Your Book.  Let me pore over the Word more than any book, periodical, blog, or website.  Help me to master the art of focused meditation; not the worldly kind of mindless meditation that wants to empty out the mind but the God-saturated kind of meditation that will fill my soul with holiness, mission, purpose, and righteousness!

Psalm 119:174—Lord, I ask You, I plead with You that I would experience more of Your salvation.  Let there be an assurance that would flood my soul.  “I have longed for Your salvation!”  Those are the words of Your Psalmist, in fact, those are Your Words because this Book is inspired by You meaning that it is literally God-breathed.  Breathe into me an eternal salvation that does not depend on my performance or my devotion to a moral code or my adherence to a Western standard of expectation.  I pray that this eternal salvation does not depend on my being able to heal the sick, raise the dead, or open blind eyes.  I need salvation that is not dependent on how my I speak in tongues or operate in the gifts of the Spirit.  The kind of salvation I long for is the salvation that comes to me when my stumbling efforts at my calling overtake me, or in my fumbling plans to build Your church, and the presence of God when I find myself involved in frittering sins that pull the life out of my worship, my desire, and my devotion.  I plead with You, Lord, for that kind of salvation!

Psalm 119:2, 11, 34—Great God, keep my heart.  Let it be focused in Your direction at all times.  I am confessing to You the weakness of my heart.  I am more than aware of the fact that my heart can be a treacherous place.  My heart can be a place that is a council chamber of wickedness and I am warned throughout Your Book that it is deceitful and dishonest and cannot be trusted in any fashion.  The man who believes he is immune from this fact has already become a fool.  The prayer, the pleading that I have is for You to help me to hide Your Word in my heart so that I will not sin against You.  Through study, meditation, memorization, hearing it read, reading it aloud in private devotion, and even singing Your Word, I pray You will deal with my heart for good.  I plead with You that whatever my meager efforts are at preaching that it will be Word-saturated.  Your Word inoculates me against sin and temptation, that is why I need it in my heart.  Your Word drags down my self-righteousness, my pride, my self-sufficiency, and a host of other soul maladies that my flesh, the devil, and the world would infect me with.  I pray that Your Word pushes the ungodly ambitions that can creep into my ministry and I pray You deliver me from acidic lusts that would destroy my marriage and my family.  I am praying for Your Word to be hidden in my heart.  I am sincerely praying that Your Word will be observed by my whole heart, not a small part, or half, or even 99% but that Your Word will completely fill my heart.  I plead for understanding, revelation, knowledge, and wisdom to come to my aid.  I need this, my family needs this, the church I pastor needs these things.  We are watching our nation on the brink of social, moral and spiritual collapse. . . Let Your Word fill our hearts!  May all of these requests be granted in the name of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen. . .

The content of this prayer is another reason that I am arguing for expository preaching to fill our pulpits.  The workman of the Word who digs into the Word has this kind of prayer to come to him while he is in the process of sermon preparation which in its own way is a unique act of worship.

Thanks for reading. . .

Philip Harrelson
       

Comments

Rick said…
Thanks for sharing your heart and prayer from this passage. I appreciate how much of your prayer from this Psalm addresses motives, motivations, and heart conditions being in accordance with God's Word. It's a powerful reminder for all of us!
Unknown said…
amen!thank you for sharing.

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