How We Should Pray, Ps 86:1-3

In Psalm 86 David teaches us three very important things about how we should pray.  We should:

Pray Humbly – Ps 86:1, “for I am poor and needy”.

By comparison to other kings, David was a wealthy man.  He laid up great wealth for the construction of the temple, 1 Chr 29:3-4.  Yet he didn’t rely upon his wealth as a rich man.  Prov 18:11, “The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and as a high wall in his own conceit”.

Before the Lord, David recognized that he was poor and needy.  He never let his wealth convince him that he could succeed without the Lord.  He stayed dependent on the Lord.  Likewise, we need to stay dependent upon the Lord, and not self-sufficient.  We should come to him humbly.

Notice how wealth and prosperity destroyed two great kings after David.

When king Uzziah was young, he sought the Lord and the Lord made him to prosper, 2 Chr 26:5.  Yet 2 Chr 26:16 says, “But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction…”.

2 Chr 31:21 says of Hezekiah, “And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered”.  Yet 2 Chr 32:25 says, “But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him and upon Judah and Jerusalem”.

Pride will utterly destroy your prayer life.  You won’t come before the Lord in prayer when you’re proud.  And if you do, the Lord won’t help you.  “God resisteth the proud”, Jas 4:6.  The verse goes on to say, “but giveth grace unto the humble”.

Pray Holily – Ps 86:2, “for I am holy”.

The Lord demands that we be holy, 1 Pet 1:14-16.  When we pray we must be able to lift up “holy hands”, 1 Tim 2:8.  Solomon wrote in Prov 15:8, “the prayer of the upright is his delight”.  And in Prov 15:29, “he heareth the prayer of the righteous”.

You should be so aware of the Lord’s presence when you pray that you know when he is listening.  Like David said, “Bow down thine ear, O Lord, hear me”, Ps 86:1.  David knew God was listening.

By contrast, David wrote in Ps 66:18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me”.  When there is something between you and the Lord, you should be able to tell something’s wrong.  Ask the Lord to point it out to you so that you can confess it and he can cleanse it.  This way you can pray holily.  Then, you will notice, right away, that you have regained an audience with the Lord.

Pray Habitually – Ps 86:3, “for I cry unto thee daily”.

Along with Bible reading, regular time in prayer every day should be your priority and routine.  David prayed evening, morning, and at noon, Ps 55:17.  Daniel prayed three times a day, Dan 6:10.

You should bow your knees to the Lord before you lift your hands to work.  You are neglecting the great direction and help from the Lord when you rush into things without praying.  “He that hasteth with his feet sinneth”, Prov 19:2.

Furthermore, when you pray to the Lord habitually, it’s not awkward for you to cry out to him when you are in trouble.  You are already used to calling on him and he is already used to hearing your voice.  David said in Ps 86:7, “In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me”.  He knew the Lord would answer.

Too many Christians wait till they are in trouble before they call upon the Lord.  Or they will exhaust themselves and their resources before they start praying.  This isn’t the way to pray.  Prayer is the first necessity, not the last extremity.

Conclusion: From Ps 86:1-3, we have seen three great things about how we should pray.  We should pray humbly, holily, and habitually.