Let’s begin our Psalm 27 Devotional from the top by reading David’s own words, the perfect basis for a prayer for rescue.
The Psalms are such powerful connectors of our hearts to God’s. We’re able to see that in the muck of miry days, nothing is new in our struggles but the very same hope available to those authors remains strong for us.
It seems David was the champion of putting hope in God in hopeless times!
I wish we could know without doubt what David was facing at the time of writing this sacred song. We know he was being pursued by enemies, most likely on the run once again and far from any semblance of temple. He was separated from his parents, possibly the only family he could think of trusting in this time of deep trouble. He was subject to slander and his reputation was on the line. These themes can be found many times throughout David’s life, but 1 Samuel 20 – 23 includes each of these markers.
So how can we mirror David’s determination to seek God above all things and not doubt we will see good things happen?
How Did King David Pray?
Though David boldly spoke to God about his troubles, he sandwiched the concerns with praise, affirming God’s role back to God and to his own heart. Time after time, we see David having faith to say, “I’m trusting God when it hurts BECAUSE MY GOD……”. Is holy. Has no rival in his faithfulness. Is the mighty warrior who saves.
Isn’t it striking that David isn’t writing a prayer to overcome challenges or have his problems removed? He isn’t directing God on how this problem could easily be solved if he’d just follow a neatly organized action plan. No, his request is for spiritual connectivity with God, no matter what the future holds. A prayer for rescue in David’s eyes is that he be brought into God’s presence where safety, rest and joy abound.
What battle has you exhausted right now? What would you give to feel hidden and protected, set high upon a rock; not even that the battle be removed, but that you gain refreshment and clarity to go back in? Clarity in your role. Clarity in God’s role. Clarity to see the true enemy and obtain a real plan of action.
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:14 NIV).
Is it fathomable that meeting with God, being still in Sabbath rest and offering a sacrifice of joyful praise, is an option for achieving victory and healing?
How to have an intimate relationship with God
David expressed that his one desire was to be close to God, but how do we develop a close relationship with God? How do we go about seeking God first or even putting that on our priority list so that enjoying his presence trumps any and every solution? Is it possible that honest prayers spoken out of emotional unrest bring us closer to him?
Even when we’re seeking God first and singing out a prayer for rescue, it doesn’t mean our problems vanish. The gap between what we’re trusting for and what is still exists.
It can be tempting to fake it with an automated #TooBlessedToBeStressed stamp, but pretending isn’t what God intends for us. He does not call down from way up high “Fake it till ya make it, Beloved.”, where if we squint, we might make out a thumbs up.
No, he says “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 NIV). He fights for us but also comes alongside us in the grief of this life. He provides a tent of refuge, a place high on a rock where we are reminded he is near. Don’t discount his love or shut him out of this place.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7, NIV).
Being honest with God in prayer lets us lean on God for strength. Leaning on God for strength forces us to be honest with God in prayer. It is a crown of flowers with one beautiful truth spilling into the next; a sweet and aggressive honeysuckle vine covering everything that stands still.
God confidence vs self-confidence
Under a microscope, not being honest with God in prayer is putting greater confidence in ourselves than in God. Instead of praying yet another prayer over the same stubborn hurt, we adopt a disciplined technique of grinning and bearing it. And if we’re not careful, that “disciplined technique” band-aids our need to give and receive holy love, joy, contentment, forgiveness and gratitude. Our masking the hurt takes precedence and prayer becomes a last resort.
I’ll let you decide if that counts as idolatry. Because growing up in Sunday School, I always thought idolatry within a walk of faith consisted of putting lots of fun stuff ahead of God. Like a whole life of Fat Tuesdays with a splash of Ash Wednesday whenever it occurred to us.
But as an adult, I see how often I trick myself into putting bad stuff above God. If my problems dictate my actions, my thoughts, my ability to be patient and act in kindness, I’ve basically told myself that because my problems are still here, they must be bigger than my God.
In this way, isn’t the real need for rescue so often from ourselves?
Seeking God first doesn’t mean living in denial. It means taking every piece of the problem to him in a prayer for rescue, or prayer after prayer for rescue. Those pieces may include things in and out of our control, internal and external, past, present and future. Honest prayers help maintain your confidence in God.
A wise friend recently said that she’d been learning that God is the author and finisher of our faith, which may or may not include him also authoring changes to our circumstances.
Sweet friend, put your confidence in God to complete your faith with or without changing your circumstance, so that it is mature and applicable in all situations!
Putting God First
Is putting God first simply something we should do because we’re considerate Jesus followers and we don’t want to look bad? Or does focusing on God and not your circumstances hold greater benefit?
Benefits of Putting God First
When putting God first, old habits are displaced making it instinctive to focus on God not your problems. We’re quicker to avoid patterns of emotional unrest and can live in greater contentment, regardless of the season. His fruits of the spirit find room to grow. In this way, we don’t just reap the benefits, but so do those around us. Would your loved ones benefit from you putting God first, if it meant you were more patient? Joyful? Gentle? Tolerant? Loving? Kind?
How to Put God First
If our relationship with God is going to be our most intimate relationship, we have to put it first. This takes both spiritual discipline and habitual discipline.
Putting God first requires that we make different choices with our words, actions and thoughts. So the old, and albeit hokey line, “Take it to the throne, not the phone.” fits beautifully here and prompts a prayer for rescue as instinctive as breathing. We learn to seek Him first by seeking Him first.
We have choices to make if we want to reap the benefits of putting God first.
• Go to him first – before Google, before WebMD, before your mama, your sister, your person.
• Ask for his wisdom.
• Journal your prayers so you can look back and see how God was working. Sometimes when we’re in the thick of battle, we just can’t see his hand. It may take some time and distance, but you won’t want to miss the reveal! Journaling this way, with the intent of being able to trace his hand later, is in itself an act of faith.
• Be watchful for his changes in your heart, attitude and perspective.
• Affirm his promises to yourself. (I’ve already pulled a few promises to get you started!)
• Stay mindful that he comes first no matter how he chooses to walk you through a situation.
Psalm 27 Devotional: A Prayer for Rescue
Time with God will never feel old, boring or pointless. When my prayers start sounding like a broken record, I take it as a sign they’re more about me than God.
I encourage you to use Psalm 27 in writing your own Prayer for Rescue. When we focus on God, we never walk away empty handed.
Here’s a prayer for rescue I wrote out with some suggestions for personalizing this heart cry.
“When ________________________________ comes against me and threatens to end my _____________ (life, joy, love, patience, gentleness, hope…) my heart will not fear. Though all the ________________________ (sensitivity, worry, parenting, marital, relationship, employment, health…) cards are stacked against me, EVEN THEN, I will be confident.
The one thing I ask, God, is that I may live in your continual presence. Set my eyes on you and your ______________________________ (forgiveness, mercy, love, steadfastness, ability and willingness to create beauty from ashes). For in my worst days, you surround me and protect my spirit, restoring my soul with inexplicable joy. I will take the joy that you scoop and pour into me and I will use it to praise your name.
Do not hide from me, God! You are my helper; the only one I trust with my spirit.
I remain confident of this: I will see your goodness and your glory in ___________________________ (my life, perhaps even my death, my marriage, my children, my health, my financial crisis, my comeback story, my restoration of faith in you, ‘my person’s’ restoration of faith in you…). Let this moment now be a catalyst in my story. You, the author and finisher of my faith see every plot twist well before I am aware. Guide my path so that no matter what, it leads me closer to you.
I love and adore you, my most precious God.”