“To you, O Lord, I call my rock, be not deaf to me. Lest if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit. Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands towards your most holy sanctuary.”
I love this posture of David in this Psalm. As I read it again, just hear how desperate he is, so desperate that he knows if God does not answer him, if God does not provide help for him and mercy toward him, he is done. He’s hopeless without God. “To you, O Lord, I call my rock, be not deaf to me.”
Prayer is an expression of our dependence on God.
In other words, “Please hear me, because if you are silent to me, I will become like those who go down to the pit. If you don’t hear me, oh God, I am lost. I’m hopeless. Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy. I’m pleading before you. When I cry to you, I’m crying out to you for help. When I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary… ” The whole picture is he’s saying, “I’m focused on you. I need you. If you don’t come through, I’m done.” And this is what prayer is all about. Prayer is an expression of our dependence on God like this. So we’re saying to God, “God, I need this. I need this. I can’t do this without your help. I can’t do this without your mercy. I can’t get through today without this or that. I will fall flat on my face without you.”
And it’s true. I mean, this is Jesus in John 15:5, right? Apart from me, you can do nothing. You will fall flat on your face and your faith and your desire to be the man or woman God has called you to be, or the husband or wife God’s called you to be, or parent or student, child, whatever positions God’s given you, and then the follower of Jesus that God has created and called you to be, to experience abundant life the way he’s designed you to live, none of those things are possible without His help, without His mercy. So it is entirely right to continually use words like I plead in prayer, I’m crying to you in prayer, God, for this or that.
And yes, I think there are times in our life when we feel this more acutely. I know that there are people listening to this right now who are walking through particular challenges, some very, very deep trials, and you feel like this. You feel like this, for sure, like, “God, I can’t make today without your mercy. I can’t make it today without your help. I’m pleading for your help.” But the reality is that should be the posture of our hearts all the time, even when things are going great. They’re going great because of the grace and mercy of God in that moment. And so for us to continually cry for help, to continually plead for mercy, knowing… And this is the beauty of what the Psalmist is confessing here in Psalm 28, I know you will not be deaf to me. I know you will not be silent to me.
You get down to verse six, he says, “Blessed be the Lord for He has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield. In Him my heart trusts, and I am helped.” He knows God will hear. He knows God will answer. He knows God will be his strength and shield, and God will help him. You and I can know the same thing today as we pray right now together. God, please hear our cries for help in each of our lives. I’m thinking about so many different things in my life right now, and I can’t even imagine all the different things you know that are going on in different people’s lives right now. We look to you, we lift our hands toward your most holy sanctuary, and we say right now, “We need you, O God. We need your help. We need your mercy. We need your wisdom. We need your strength. We need your guidance. We need your leadership. We need your provision. And we need your peace. We need your hope, all these things. We will fall flat on our faces apart from you, O God. We can’t do anything today apart from your mercy, apart from your help.”
“And we praise you. We can’t do anything today, especially the hard things that are surrounding us, but in anything, in anything, we can’t do anything today or tomorrow, no matter how hard or easy they might seem to us. We can’t breathe without you. We can’t do anything without you. We are totally dependent upon you. We praise you for your faithfulness to us. We praise you that you hear the voice of our pleas for mercy, that you are our strength and our shield. We confess that together right now. Blessed be the Lord. The Lord is our strength and our shield. And in you our hearts trust. We trust in you, and we are helped. We’re helped by you. We praise you for your help in our lives, even as we pray for your help in our lives.”
God, I pray this over every single person listening to this right now, that they would know your help, that they would cry out to you for help in humble desperation, and they would see you as their strength and their shield. They would know you hear their pleas for mercy and their cries for help, and you answer in every way they need. O God, we praise you for answering in every way we need. We bless your name. In you, our hearts trust, and we are helped. Thank you for hearing us. Jesus, we pray all of this in your name, the one who makes prayer like this possible, who makes communion with God like this possible. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen