Psalms 17       (A prayer of David)

David, a man after God’s own heart:

From the moment David killed Goliath he was thrown into the arena of national politics. He became a great warrior and built such a reputation that Saul the king became jealous and tried to have him killed. David went into hiding in the hills and although during Saul’s pursuit David had the opportunity to kill Saul, he refused to do so because Saul with all his faults and failings, was still the Lord’s anointed. Unbeknown to Saul, David had already been anointed by Samuel to be Saul’s successor.

David was a very gifted man, warrior, administrator, judge, architect,  poet, and musician, but  he also did many despicable things in his life including murder and adultery. When challenged about his sin he always repented and sought forgiveness.

Many years later, Paul in his sermon in Antioch in Pisidia gave a potted history of the Jews and said this of David;

22:  After removing Saul, God made David their king. He testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ (Acts 13 verse 22)

A prayer of a righteous man:

1:  Hear, O LORD, my righteous plea; listen to my cry. Give ear to my prayer–it does not rise from deceitful lips. 2:  May my vindication come from you; may your eyes see what is right.

3:  Though you probe my heart and examine me at night, though you test me, you will find nothing; I have resolved that my mouth will not sin.

4:  As for the deeds of men–by the word of your lips I have kept myself from the ways of the violent.

5:  My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not slipped.

David starts his prayer by pleading his cause as righteous man. God of course knows all about us but it always helpful for us to consider how we stand before God.

David claims that first of all his heart is in the right place. Deep down in his innermost being he is totally committed to God and his will for his life. He then confirms that he is determined not to say anything contrary to God’s will and purpose, and finally he states that even his actions have not betrayed his heartfelt love of God.

His heart, mind and body are God’s and God’s alone.

Paul wrote to the churches in Rome:

3:  For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

(Romans 12 : 1 – 3)

And where do we stand before God if we think soberly about it: Paul wrote to the church in Corinth:

21:  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

(2 Corinthians 5 : 21)

When we pray, we therefore come into God’s presence with confidence as the writer of Hebrews wrote:

16:  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4 : 16)

So James is able to write:

16:  Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5 : 16)

A prayer for protection:

6:  I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer.

7:  Show the wonder of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes. 8:  Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings9:  from the wicked who assail me, from my mortal enemies who surround me.

Having stated his case as a righteous man before God David appeals to God in confidence that his prayer will be answered.

He suggests that in answering his prayer God demonstrates his great love and power in protecting all those who look to God in their time of need, and then he gets personal and asks that God will stay so close to him that he can see his own reflection in God’s eyes, and to use another analogy, that he should remain so close to the heart of God that he is covered by his wings as a bird would protect its chicks.

Jesus used the same expression as he wept over Jerusalem.

 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.

(Matthew 23 : 37)

Jesus wants us to live a life as close to him as possible, Matthew records the words of Jesus, translated in the Message.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me–watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11 :  28 – 30)

As righteous people brought into a relationship with God by the blood of Jesus our Saviour how intimate is your relationship to God? In these times when we are not allowed to embrace each other outside of our own “bubbles” how we miss the intimacy of Christian fellowship and yet Spiritually we are allowed to embrace the very heart of our loving Heavenly Father whose very essence is love to the extent that John could write;

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4 : 7 – 8)

A prayer for deliverance

10:  They close up their callous hearts, and their mouths speak with arrogance.

11:  They have tracked me down, they now surround me, with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground.

12:  They are like a lion hungry for prey, like a great lion crouching in cover.

13:  Rise up, O LORD, confront them, bring them down; rescue me from the wicked by your sword.

14:  O LORD, by your hand save me from such men, from men of this world whose reward is in this life. You still the hunger of those you cherish; their sons have plenty, and they store up wealth for their children.

15:  And I–in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.

David describes the problems he is up against, being hunted with a view to his death and he appeals to God to rise up and confound the wicked whose only concern are the transitory things of this world. He reminds God and himself that God always provides for those he loves to many generations.

Finally David again states his own righteousness through which he has the right to meet God face to face in the morning of eternity.

Have you accepted Jesus as your Saviour and therefore become righteous before God?

Do you know and experience the intimacy that David had with his Father God?

Do you pray to God for protection and deliverance in faith knowing that your prayers will be answered?

Prayers 27 September 2020

Father we come to you with thanks this morning, for every good and perfect gift which comes from you.
For the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth over and around us lies.
For the joy of human love, Friends on earth, and friends above,
For yourself, best gift divine to the world so freely given,
Christ, our Lord, to you we raise now our thankful hearts in praise.

We thank you that in these troubled times you are the unchanging one.  You hold all things in your hands, whatever is going on around us.  And because of your great love we can come to you in confidence as we bring our prayers and petitions to you. 

Today we see so much loss and distress around us, be it through War; Political unrest; Famine; or Co-vid19.  We pray for those who through these circumstances have lost, or are gripped by the fear of loss; of family, friends, jobs, home, health, educational opportunity, hope or confidence.  We ask that you, the God of all comfort, will bind up the broken hearted, bring strength to the weak, and hope to those in despair.  Lord, in the midst of loss and despair, may your seeds of new life be sown – hope for a new tomorrow.

We pray for the Leadership St Christopher’s.  Lord you know our hearts desire; how we long for the leadership team here to be strengthened by a new appointment to help take us forward under your direction. 

Grant wisdom to the PCC & Leadership in the search, selection and appointment of a new Co-ordinator.  Prepare the person you have ordained for the task.  Make clear your direction we pray.  Grant us a clear vision of what you want to do in and through St Christopher’s, that we might partner with you in seeing your kingdom come amongst us.

We pray for all those in Authority & Government – thosewho are guiding the nations through this pandemic, shaping national and local policies.  Grant them the foresight to act with prudence, and to act for the well-being of the people they serve.  Help them to rightly balance the conflicting needs of society.  Grant wisdom, courage, integrity and a willingness to look beyond themselves.  In ignoring you we make ourselves into our own gods, believing that our own power and strength will get us through and that everything is under our control.  Yet this pandemic has shown the limits human understanding, the fragility of life and the temporary nature of this world’s systems.  Lord, save us from our own arrogance and once again may nations and those in authority turn to you. 

As this pandemic continues to rage we pray for those who care for the sick and suffering, and for those searching for a cure.  Give skill, sympathy and resilience to all.  Strengthen them with your Spirit, that through their work many will be restored to health. Protect we pray, those who put themselves at risk whilst caring for others.

And we pray for those who are distressed, sick or isolated, both those on our news sheet, and others known to us.  May they be aware of your presence with them and may your love and peace surround them.  Bring healing and relief we pray.

And for ourselves: Lord you teach us to love our neighbour, and to care for those in need as if we were caring for you.  In this time of anxiety, give us strength to comfort the fearful, tend the sick, and assure the isolated of both our love and your love.  Heal us from our own fears which prevent us from helping one another and stop us speaking freely of you. 

In these turbulent times we ask that we might know the peace that passes all understanding.  We wait expectantly for you Lord, for you are our help and our shield.  In you our hearts rejoice because we trust in your holy name.  Let your unfailing love surround us for our hope is in you alone.

We ask all these things in and through the precious name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen

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