Today finally feels like the beginning of the new year. Our girls headed back to school after a two-week Christmas break, plus an extra day off due to lingering ice from the snowstorm that came through last week.
It was a really good, much-needed couple of weeks of rest and family time. We watched movies, played games, and ate a few too many sweets! Now it’s back to early morning wake-up times and regular routines. The house seems mighty quiet today.
Several years ago, I started writing out a monthly prayer list for my family. On a page in my journal (fancy way of saying my notebook), I write each person’s name. Underneath, I list five specific prayer requests for that person for that month. For example, my husband has two out-of-town business trips in January, so two of my prayer requests for him revolve around those trips. (If you’re interested, you can read in more detail about how I make my prayer list here.)
While reading my Bible last month, I came to Psalm 143:1. Though I’ve read that particular verse many times, it spoke to me in a new way that morning.
“Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness.”
As I mentioned in last week’s post, I’m now writing this verse at the top of my prayer list each month. It’s a daily reminder that I want God to hear my prayers and to answer them according to His faithfulness and righteousness.
We all want God to hear and answer our prayers. I love how the Psalmist here just asks God to “listen to my prayer.”
He uses the word “supplication,” which has the idea of asking for something earnestly and humbly. That right there should be our attitude when we come to God in prayer. We have humble hearts, and sincerely ask for our needs to be met. We don’t approach His throne lightly, acting like we deserve to have our prayers answered.
But what really got me was the way David asks for his prayer be answered. He wants God to answer in His faithfulness and in His righteousness.
So what does that look like?
Well, let’s look at the faithfulness aspect first.
God is constant and dependable. He is faithful to His character, Who He is. His goodness, mercy, and grace are continually evident in the way He chooses to answer our prayers.
God is also faithful to always do what is best for us. Isn’t that how we want God to answer each request? He is all-knowing, so we can trust that He will do what is going to be best for us.
And I love that this faithfulness involves God’s promises. I want God to answer my prayer according to the promises that I find in the Bible. And because He is faithful, I know He will. For example, if I pray, “Lord, please be with me when I go to this doctor’s appointment that I’m nervous about,” I know He will go with me. How? Because He says in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”
How about God answering my prayer according to His righteousness?
God always does what is right. He is pure, He is just, He is holy. No matter how I might want my prayer answered humanly speaking, the best answer comes through the filter of God’s character. All that He does is right. If my prayer is answered according to His righteousness, I know it will be the perfect answer. I don’t have to worry that God might get it wrong this time. It will be correct.
Will it always be the answer I want? Probably not. Maybe what I’m asking for is not good for me or for the person I’m praying for. Do I want God to answer it my way anyway? No! He by far knows what the best answer is for that request and what will bring Him glory. I see in the short-term; He has eternity in view.
How thankful I am that we have a God who hears us when we pray! We can trust that He will answer our prayers according to His faithfulness and righteousness.