Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Praying for Holiness (Psalm 86)

"Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name. I will praise You, O Lord my God" (Ps. 86:11–12a).

David often cried out to God for deliverance. His life was filled with affliction and persecution, something most of us can only imagine, yet he remained devoted to his God. He recognized that the Lord of Israel was the one true God, and only He could deliver him and lead him in truth.

In Psalm 86, we can trace the progression of thought in David’s prayer, how it begins with a cry for deliverance, moves to a petition for holiness, and builds into a song of praise and thanksgiving. David recognized his utter dependence on God. There must have been many times when friends and family disappointed him because they failed to meet his needs. But he learned early in his life that the only one who could truly meet his needs was God. David knew he could trust God because He is good and willing to help and forgive His people. He is also all-powerful, so He is able to accomplish all that He wills. David found great comfort in the fact that when he prayed God would answer, that He is able because “Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord; nor are there any works like Your works” (Ps. 86:8).

As David recognized his dependence on God for deliverance, he also declared that He is dependent on God to lead a sincere and godly life. David wanted to follow God’s ways and not his own, he wanted to walk in truth with sincerity of heart because he knew that God desired obedience and truth in the inward parts. David’s prayer is not only that God save him from the arrogant and cruel men who oppressed him, but that his life be devoted to the study of God’s ways and that his walk be in the path of holiness and truth.

Too often, we spend our time praying that God deliver us from one trial or another, or that He meet some need in our life. Yet we neglect the weightier matters—praise to God and supplication for a sanctified life. We focus almost exclusively on our material well-being that we forget the needs of our soul—the need to be filled with righteousness and truth. While we should continue to pray to God for deliverance and help, we should remember to ask for holiness, godliness, truth, and sincerity to grace our lives.

Calvin noted that David prayed first for right understanding and then for holiness. What is the relation between right knowledge of God and how you live? Why is the study of God necessary for holiness? Spend time studying God’s Word, that you might know His ways in order to live them. Pray for holiness and truth.