Psalm 70:4 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation always say,
“Let God be exalted!”
David was in another tough spot here, but he knew better than to make his petition totally self-centered. He asks God to meet his need so that all who seek Him may rejoice. You could call this something of a “class action prayer!” We too would do well to remember that what we ask of God never affects just us; other people are always involved. Our minds, our hearts, are simply not big enough to grasp all the implications of everything we ask of God, but He doesn’t miss anything. That’s why we indeed need to pray according to the guidelines Jesus gave us. We need to start with acknowledging who God is: the perfectly holy Creator who, in His incredible grace, has given us the privilege of praying to Him. Then we need to pray that His sovereignty, His rule, would extend over everything, accomplishing what He desires as perfectly on this earth as it does before His throne in heaven. Then we are free to pray that our needs be met, but we need to let Him show us the difference between our genuine needs and what our flesh might desire. We need to recognize our sinful imperfection, and as a consequence, forgive those who have sinned against us. That can be a big issue! God loves the other person as much as He loves us, so in recognizing His grace toward us, we need to extend it to others. And in asking for protection from evil, we again need to recognize that others need that protection as much as we do. Individual, personal prayer is a vital part of every area of our lives, but we must remember that we aren’t the only people God cares about.
I’m as prone to self-centered prayer as anyone, so I’m talking to myself. The more things pile up for me, the less I’m able to see and care about the issues others face. As I pray honestly about my own situation, I need to include others as well. I do pray the Lord’s Prayer fairly often, expanding it in various ways, but I’m not to think that corrects my self-centered tendencies completely. I teach others about intercession, praying for others, but I don’t do enough of it myself. I need to take a cue from David and include others every time I pray. My own father, in a letter he wrote to the family before the heart surgery from which he woke up in heaven, pointed out that God’s will for each of us fits in perfectly with His will for everyone else. I’ve got to be willing to be the cog that turns the gear in someone else’ life to bring them the blessing they need.
Father, thank You for this reminder. I’ve had a number of things pile up for me recently, but this morning You were reminding me that those around me have issues as well, and often more severe ones at that. I do ask Your grace for us all, that we may all give You the praise and obedience that You alone deserve, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!