THIRSTING for GOD’s POWER, PRESENCE & PROVISION everyday: "I spread out my hands to You; my soul longs for You like a thirsty land. Answer me speedily, O Lord; my spirit fails! Do not hide Your face from me, lest I be like those who go down into the pit. Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You." (Psalms 143:6-8)
Psalms 143 is the last psalm of lament written by King David. Even though this psalm lacks any clear historical setting, it appears that he was out in the wilderness escaping for his life from his own son Absalom (143:6; see 2 Sam. 17:29). The words of this psalm suggest that David was surrounded by enemies from all direction. However, David knew very well where he must turn in times like this!
David begins this psalm by addressing God and asking Him not only to listen, but to answer him in His faithfulness and righteousness (vv. 1, 2). David's enemy had persecuted and crushed him so badly that he was both overwhelmed and distressed at heart (vv.3-4). Then David remembered, meditated, and mused on God’s goodness to him in the past (v. 5), which resulted in a dramatic change in his attitude. Instead of complaining over his misfortunes, David lifted and spread out his hands to God in total surrender and pleading for help.
In doing so, David allowed his soul to thirst after God as a thirsty land (v. 6). He pours out his complaint to God (vv. 3–6) even as he recalls God’s help in times past during the periods when he was distressed (v. 5). David then offers his petition and supplication to the only One who could provide a solution for his problems (vv. 6–12). In the final six verses, David makes as much as eleven petitions to God for help!
There are six key characteristics in David’s prayer that is worth emulating in our prayers as well:
- David’s prayer was fervent: The fervency of David’s prayer is displayed by his hands that are pleadingly spread out toward God for help.
- David’s prayer was intense: David longed for God just like a parched ground thirsts for the refreshing rain. He felt like a thirsty man dying in a desert.
- David’s prayer was urgent: David made it clear that unless God hurried to his rescue, he would not survive much longer.
- David’s prayer sought God’s favor: The hiding of God’s face, either in anger or disinterest, would be tantamount to death. Without a renewed sense of God’s presence, David believes that he is as good as dead.
- David’s prayer put God as his only resort: God was not only David’s first resort during times of trouble; God was his last resort as well.
- David’s prayer requested for God’s guidance: For David, divine guidance was indispensable for his personal safety. He knew that only God-directed life was effective and enjoyable.