Prayer for the Word

I. This stanza centers on urgent prayer.

A. The Hebrew couplets connect parallel ideas.

1. Psalm 119:145-146 describe passion and promise in prayer.

a. I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O LORD: I will keep thy statutes.
b. I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.

2. Psalm 119:147-148 emphasize insistent wakefulness.

a. I prevented (go before) the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word.
b. Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.

3. Psalm 119:149 contains the summary petition – “Answer me!”

a. “Hear me, O LORD” (verse 145)
b. “Save me” (verse 146)
c. “Hear my voice” (verse 149)

4. Psalm 119:150-151 contrasts the nearness of persecutors with the nearness of the LORD.

a. They draw nigh (emphasis “close”) that follow after mischief: they are far from thy law.
b. Thou art near (emphasis “intimacy”), O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth.

5. Psalm 119:152 expresses confidence in the eternal truth of God’s word.

a. Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.
b. The “mischief” makers are “far from thy law” (verse 150)
c. The LORD’s commandments “are truth” (verse 151)

B. The urgency is reflected in the passionate promises.

1. Listen to me! – I will keep thy statutes (verse 145)

2. Rescue me! – I shall keep thy testimonies (verse 146)

3. I am up early! – I hope in Thy word (verse 147)

4. I can’t sleep! – I am meditating in Thy word (verse 148)

5. Hear my voice (noise)! – Give me life (preserve me – verse 149)

II. The urgency is driven by total commitment and confidence.

A. He prays with his “whole heart.”

1. Psalm 119:2Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.

2. Psalm 119:10 – With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.

3. Psalm 119:34 – Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

4. Psalm 119:58 – I entreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.

5. Psalm 119:69 – The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart.

B. He is consumed with a need to seek God.

1. Psalm 63:1-2 – O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.

2. Psalm 63:5-6 – My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.

3. Psalm 63:8 – My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.

C. He is confident in his own faith and in God’s answer.

1. Confidence comes as we gain understanding of God’s Word.

a. 1 John 5:13 – These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
b. 1 John 5:14 – And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
c. 1 John 5:15 – And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

2. Confidence is illustrated by the “mustard seed.”

a. Matthew 17:20 – If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
b.It is not the amount of faith; it is the quality of faith.
1) Mustard seeds are created to be mustard trees.  They know nothing else and can be nothing else.
2) Twice-born children of God are created to be “conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29)
3) Mustard seeds are designed to grow into huge trees (Matthew 13:31-31)
4) Twice-born children of God are designed to “ask in prayer, believing” (Matthew 21:22) and not to “waver” (James 1:6)

3. Confidence is built from contrast.

a. Growing knowledge of the impact of “mischief” (lewdness) increases disdain for evil itself (2 Timothy 3:13)
b. Growing knowledge of the truth of Scripture increases love for truth (1 John 3:18)

4. Confidence can grow through life experiences.

a. The shepherd’s rod of Moses became a rod of authority ( Exodus 4:2-6)
b. The sacrifice of a little food for the Widow of Zeraphath became a life-sustaining store (1 Kings 17:10-16)
c. The beauty and boldness of Ester and Mordicai saved a nation (Esther 4:13-17)
d. The obedience of the Man born blind became a miraculous testimony to thousands (John 19:1-7)
e. The simple (and unpleasant) obedience of those at Lazarus’ funeral was used to prepare the crowd for God’s miracle (John 11:49)

5. Confidence can even grow when we understand wrong choices.

a. The wind caused Peter to sink, but he later became a “rock” for the early church (Matthew 14:28-31)
b. The “offended” Pharisees became an example for the Apostles to avoid (Matthew 15:12-20)
c. The memory of prior (but unlearned) teachings brought understanding at the resurrection (Luke 24:8)
d. The “poor” and “lukewarm” condition of Laodicea was a warning
“to the churches” (Revelation 3:17-18)

III. The spiritual battle is specifically focused by prayer (Ephesians 6:18-20)

A. There are two types of prayer specifically identified.

1. Proseuche, translated “prayer” is specified.

a. This the most often used term in the New Testament
b. This term stresses “formal” or “devotional” prayer.
c. Matthew 21:13, 22; Acts 6:4; Philippians 4:6

2. Deesis, translated “supplication” is identified.

a. This term is used term some 40 times in the New Testament
b. This term stresses “personal” or “urgent” prayer.
c. Luke 1:13; Romans 10:1; 1 Timothy 5:5

B. There are two attitudes of prayer specifically identified.

1. Agrupneo, translated “watching” is required.

a. This term is used infrequently in the New Testament
b. This term stresses “self control” not merely being awake
c. Luke 21:26; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:8

2. Proskarteresis, translated “perseverance” is demanded.

a. This term is used infrequently in the New Testament
b. This term stresses constant attention.
c. Mark 3:9; Acts 8:13; Acts 10:7

C. There are two types of requests identified.

1. We are to pray “for all saints” – the context stresses spiritual battle.

a. Abraham interceding for Sodom (Genesis 18:23-33)
b. Daniel for sins of the people (Daniel 9:3-19)
d. Habakkuk for revival (Habakkuk 3:1-2)

2. We are to pray for each other.

a. Pray for “utterance” – words to speak
b. Pray for “boldness” – freedom to speak
c. Pray for the opportunity to “make known the mystery of the gospel”

Psalm 17

Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry!

    Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!

From your presence let my vindication come!

    Let your eyes behold the right!

You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night,

    you have tested me, and you will find nothing;

    I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.

With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips

    I have avoided the ways of the violent.

My steps have held fast to your paths;

    my feet have not slipped.

I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;

    incline your ear to me; hear my words.

Wondrously show your steadfast love,

    O Savior of those who seek refuge

    from their adversaries at your right hand.

Keep me as the apple of your eye;

    hide me in the shadow of your wings,

from the wicked who do me violence,

    my deadly enemies who surround me.

They close their hearts to pity;

    with their mouths they speak arrogantly.

They have now surrounded our steps;

    they set their eyes to cast us to the ground.

He is like a lion eager to tear,

    as a young lion lurking in ambush.

Arise, O LORD! Confront him, subdue him!

    Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword,

from men by your hand, O LORD,

        from men of the world whose portion is in this life.

    You fill their womb with treasure;

        they are satisfied with children,

        and they leave their abundance to their infants.

As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;

    when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.

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