The King's Prayer
(H) (A psalm) of David. (1) To you, Yahweh, I lift up my soul. (2) My God in you I trust. Let me not be ashamed. Let not my enemies exult over me. (3) Indeed, none who wait on you will be ashamed. Those will be ashamed who deal treacherously without excuse. (4) Cause me to know your ways, Yahweh. Teach me your paths. (5) Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation. For you I eagerly wait all day long. (6) Remember, Yahweh, your compassion and your steadfast love, for they (have been) from eternity past. (7) Remember not the sins of my youth nor my transgressions. According to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, Yahweh.
Several striking word repetitions help us determine the thrust of this opening segment of the psalm. First, we find three uses of the Hebrew word that means “be ashamed” (vss. 2 & 3). David earnestly asks Yahweh not to let him be ashamed by suffering defeat at the hands of his enemies (vs. 2). Then he broadens his focus to contrast those who, because they wait on the Lord, will not be ashamed with the treacherous who will, in fact, suffer shame (vs. 3).
In the next two verses, we encounter four expressions using three different terms for guidance as David seeks God’s direction: “cause me to know” and “teach me” (vs. 4), “lead me” and again “teach me” (vs. 5). The segment closes with more repetitions. “Remember” is found three times while “steadfast love” occurs twice (vss. 6 & 7). David’s concern zeroes in on receiving God’s guidance to rule wisely and on remaining close to the one whose steadfast love has sustained him throughout his life.
Both “Yahweh” and “God” occur twice together (first in vss. 1 & 2 and again in vss. 4 & 5). Later we find Yahweh’s name invoked twice more (vss. 6 & 7). This psalm may well have been written by the king to demonstrate to his fellow Israelites how he prayed while serving as their monarch, seeking Yahweh’s protection, wisdom, and blessing.
How David prayed to Yahweh:
- for constant protection from his enemies (1-3)
- for wise direction in his leadership (4 & 5)
- for an unbroken communion with his loving God (6 & 7)
Spiritual leaders need to maintain a close relationship with God, seeking his protection from evil as well as his direction.
For a number months, Jesus’ disciples had observed him ministering, listening to him teach and witnessing his dependence on the Father in prayer. Finally, they asked him, “Lord, teach us to pray as John taught his disciples” (Lk. 11:1). Every believer needs to learn how to put the discipline of prayer into practice in order to grow spiritually. Gratified by their request, Jesus answered by giving them what has become known as the “Lord’s Prayer” (Lk. 11:2-4). He intended that this model serve as a template for them and for us as we learn how to draw near to the Father in intimate fellowship.
David likewise shows us how we should pray in many of the psalms which he authored. Psalm 25 serves as an excellent example for us as we enter into God’s presence. Whether we memorize and repeat these words verbatim or voice the same concerns in our own words matters not so much as the fact that we actually engage in meaningful communion with God. Scripture indicates that there are few things we can do that please our heavenly Father more than our seeking to deepen our relationship with him. Whenever we struggle to maintain a regular time of prayer with Yahweh, voicing psalms such as this one can help us establish strong and effective habit patterns of frequent interaction with our loving God.