Psalm 86:1–17 (ESV) — 1 Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. 2 Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God. 3 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day. 4 Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. 5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. 6 Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. 7 In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me. 8 There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. 9 All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. 10 For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God. 11 Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. 12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. 13 For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol. 14 O God, insolent men have risen up against me; a band of ruthless men seeks my life, and they do not set you before them. 15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. 16 Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant, and save the son of your maidservant. 17 Show me a sign of your favor, that those who hate me may see and be put to shame because you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.
Psalm 86 bears the title: “A Prayer of David.” And I love how David prays, as much as I need to look at what he prays for.
In the “how” column, he prays as a “poor and needy” man. Cognizant that he has nothing in himself. He prays too as a “godly” man. Not perfect. Not righteous in himself. But one who looks to and desires to serve the one true and living God. He prays to the Lord who is “good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.” To the God who does “great and wondrous things.”
The “what” he prays for is notable as well. Deliverance from opposing or oppressing enemies. That’s reasonable. But the real sum and substance of his concern is in vs. 11 ” Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.” a. To know God’s ways as taught from God Himself. b. To walk in truth – in God’s reality. c. And above all – that his heart might be united that he might fear God’s name. How intriguing. A united heart.
A “united” heart; in other words, one that does not have any divided loyalties, but is wholly set upon finding its joy and satisfaction and fullness in Christ alone. One that fears God alone, and nothing nor anyone else. Oh how divided my own heart often is – torn by a host of loyalties and desires rather than unified in the fear and love of God in Jesus Christ.
So let’s pray with David today: Oh Holy Spirit, grant this heart to me! Heavenly Father, grant your Spirit to create this heart within this weak and brittle vessel. Give me, give we your servants, a singular, united heart – to fear your name. For the cause and glory of Christ we pray. Amen.