Thursday, December 22, 2022

A Father Who Listens (Psalm 145)

"The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth" (Ps. 145:18).

Psalm 145 contains some of the most compelling language of praise in the Scriptures, and Calvin’s comments on verse 18 and following provide us with particular insight. This passage on prayer directs our attention to God’s fatherly love toward His children and His faithfulness in hearing their prayers. This God of infinite power, perfect righteousness, and unfathomable mercy condescends to finite creatures with the gentleness of a loving father: “The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.”

“Faith, there is no doubt, lies idle and even dead without prayer, in which the spirit of adoption shows and exercises itself, and by which we evidence that all His promises are considered by us as stable and sure.” Calvin wrote, “The inestimable grace of God, in short, towards believers, appears in this, that He exhibits Himself to them as a Father. As many doubts steal upon us when we pray to God, and we either approach Him with trembling, or fail by becoming discouraged and lifeless, David declares it to be true without exception, that God hears all who call upon Him.

“At the same time, as most men pervert and profane the method of calling upon God through inventions of their own, the right manner of praying is laid down in the next part of the verse, which is, that we should pray in truth.… There is good reason why truth should be said to be necessary in our prayers—that they come from a sincere heart. The falsehood, which is the opposite of this sincerity, is of various kind—infidelity, wavering, impatience, murmuring, pretended humility, in short there are as many sorts of it as there are sinful dispositions.”

Too often God’s people forget to whom they are praying. They fail to recognize the God of all power, of complete goodness, of everlasting mercy. They come not with singleness of devotion and sincerity of heart, but with doubts, distractions, and ungodly complaints. Yet God has promised that He will answer those who call to Him. To trust in this promise takes perseverance of faith—a faith grounded on the faithfulness of a loving Father who “will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. The LORD preserves all who love Him.”

Consider what declarations in this psalm may give you confidence in your prayers. What attributes of God are the focus of David’s praise? List all those elements that should give hope to the Christian. Keep the list with you through the weekend. Using this psalm as a guide, spend some time praying to your heavenly Father.