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  • Writer's picturePastor Mike

January 24 2024


Wednesday, January 24

The Word and Prayer

 

Psalm 119:145-152

“QOPH”

145 I cry out with my whole heart; Hear me, O LORD! I will keep Your statutes.

146 I cry out to You; Save me, and I will keep Your testimonies.

147 I rise before the dawning of the morning, And cry for help; I hope in Your word.

148 My eyes are awake through the night watches, That I may meditate on Your word.

149 Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness; O LORD, revive me according to Your justice.

150 They draw near who follow after wickedness; They are far from Your law.

151 You are near, O LORD, And all Your commandments are truth.

152 Concerning Your testimonies, I have known of old that You have founded them forever.

 

Psalm 119:145-152 is the nineteenth stanza of this psalm, and every line or verse begins with the nineteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet “QOPH”, in the Hebrew Bible. The writer prayed throughout this entire psalm, but in these verses, he concentrated on prayer and cried out to God day and night. From his experience, we can learn several basic instructions about successful Biblical prayer that will “prime” our hearts to prayerfully seek the LORD! I also suggest that you read good books on prayer by authors such as Elmer Towns, Andrew Murray, E.M. Bounds, and Evelyn Christianson.

 

In verses 145-146, we are reminded that we must pray wholeheartedly. Throughout the Scriptures we are taught that we must seek and obey God with our whole heart. John Bunyan said, "In prayer, it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart". In the Old Testament sanctuary, the golden altar of incense represented intercessory prayer (Ex. 30:1-10). The special incense was burned on the altar, and the fragrant smoke rising heavenward pictured prayer going up to the Lord (141:1-2; Rev. 8:3-4). The devotion of the heart is what "ignites" our prayers and enables us to present our requests to the Lord. The phrase "and I will keep" may be translated "that I may keep." The psalmist was not bargaining with God, "Answer my prayers and I will obey you", but dedicating himself to God to obey Him no matter how He answers his prayers. Before we can pray as we ought, we must pray for ourselves that God will give us a heart ignited by the fire of the Spirit.

 

We should also pray without ceasing according to the Word (vv. 147-148). Two important elements of successful prayer are involved here. The first is that we constantly cultivate an attitude of prayer and remain in communion with the Lord. At morning and during the watches of the night (sunset to 10 p. m., 10-2, 2 until dawn), the psalmist prayed to the Lord. Jesus called this "abiding" (John 15:1-11). To "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17) does not mean to walk around muttering prayers. It means to "keep the receiver off the hook" so that nothing comes between the Father and us. The second element in successful prayer is the Word of God, for apart from God's Word, we cannot know God's will. Each verse in this section mentions the Scriptures and the writer's devotion to God's Word. We must balance the Word and prayer in our devotional life and ministry, for all Bible and no prayer means light without heat, but all prayer and no Bible could result in zeal without knowledge. The spiritual leaders in the early church gave themselves to prayer and the Word (Acts 6:4). When we meditate on the Word, the Father speaks to us, and when we pray, we speak to the Father. We need both instruction and intercession if we are to be balanced children of God.

 

Our Prayers should be an act of our love for the LORD (v. 149). This verse combines both love and law, for if we love the Lord, we will keep His commandments. Too often we think of prayer as an emergency measure, rushing into God's presence and crying for help. But what would you think of children who spoke to their parents only when they needed something? Prayer is more than asking; prayer is loving. If we love the Word of God, we must also love the God of the Word and express that love to Him. To tell Him we love Him only because we want to receive something is to practice prayer on a juvenile level. When we share our love with the Lord, we receive new life from Him.

 

Lastly, we should pray with our eyes open (vv. 150-152). As he prayed, the psalmist saw his enemies drawing near, so he asked for God to draw near to help him. The familiar phrase "watch and pray" goes back to when Nehemiah was leading the people in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and restoring the gates. The enemy did not want the holy city to be rebuilt, so they used fear, deceit, and every kind of ruse to hinder the work. What was Nehemiah's defense?  "Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them (the enemy) we set a watch against them day and night" (Neh. 4:9). Jesus (Matt. 26:41; Mark 13:33), Paul (Col. 4:2), and Peter (1 Peter 4:7) commanded God's people to "watch and pray," to be on guard and pray with intelligence and alertness. We are soldiers in a battle and we dare not go to sleep while on duty.

 

If we are not in the Word like we should be, it won’t be long before we will not be praying like we should be. The Word of God and prayer go hand in hand! You really can’t enjoy one without the other.

 

God bless!

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