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16 November 2011

The Essentials of Effective Prayer 16 November

Last time, we looked at a prayer by Solomon. Now let’s look at something his father David prayed.

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer! O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him. Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah  Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord. Psalms 4:1-5 (ESV)

By nature, I am of the “run in circles, scream and shout” camp. I would rather panic, worry and spend sleepless nights than rationally consider my problems. However, David shows me another way. He was certainly in a mess. His honor was at stake. And David acknowledges that. But he doesn’t follow the path of running around. He stops. He prays. He tells God what the problem is, clearly and succinctly. Then He reminds God of His promises – that God set him apart and listens to his prayers.

I can remember a time not long ago where I was completely engulfed in an overwhelming problem. My Bible reading that day happened to contain this Psalm (which of course was no coincidence). When I read verse 4:

“Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent”

I did just that. I stopped. I laid down. (For the whole day. Took it literally.) I prayed. I cried to God. I was silent, listening for His answer. And you know what, by the end of the day, God fixed the problem. Had I run around, I might have found a solution, but the solution God found was far better than the plan I had. So while I don’t necessarily say that we should spend a day in bed, David’s solution of meditating on God and being still is the way to go!


1.      Between verses 2 and 3, David’s attitude changed. Why?
2.      What did David do when God answered his prayer?
3.      What choice did David make instead of giving into his emotions?
4.      How can we apply this prayer to our lives?

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