As it did for David, prayer prepares us for battle
By D. Clay Perkins
Saturday, February 10, 2018
“From the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessings be on your people.” — Psalm 3:8 (The Bible, New International Version)
I remember the flashlight days of my childhood. At bedtime I used to shine my flashlight in every corner, under the bed, and in the closet looking for that monster I knew was hiding in my room. I was afraid.
As an adult I face the terror of the night, but now the monsters are real. Some of the monsters throughout my life have been money — how in the world am I going to pay for college? The health of a child — waiting for testing results on a newborn child. Marriage — are we going to make it? Failure in ministry — why? After those nights, it was hard to start the day because of emotional hangovers. There have been many times that life has been overwhelming. I imagine that many, perhaps most, people can relate to this.
How do we have faith in our fears? King David shows us how he handled a fearful situation. There was a time in his life when his own son, Absalom, was seeking not only to remove him from the throne but also to kill him (2 Samuel 15:1-6, 12b). David took his dilemma to God. His most intimate thoughts are recorded in Psalm, Chapter 3. Read this brief psalm in its entirety. You might be surprised to find that David’s cry to God sounds more like a gripe session than a “sweet hour of prayer.”
I often wonder if we have a false understanding of what worship is. Do we think we have to have our lives together, and free of trauma, before we can talk to God? David had no such presupposition. He boldly asked God, “Why? What in the world is going on?” In his pain he describes his adversaries with feelings of abandonment, confusion and loneliness. Have you ever felt that way? I have.
Then David moves from characteristics of adversity to the character of God. King David understands war. He is remembering that God is a shield for him (Psalm 3:3, 84:11; Proverbs 30:5). He knows that a solider in this era goes to battle light. And if he is victorious, he returns heavy with the spoils of war. God will lift his head up and provide (1 Peter 5:10,11). David’s prayers are spoken aloud (Psalm 3:4), and in so doing, he finds restful sleep (Psalm 3:5). His fear is gone (Psalm 3:6).
Herein lies a fundamental reality of prayer. As we observe David’s faith triumph over his fear, we see that although God may not change our circumstance, he will change us. That is who God is. David is now ready for battle.
What do you need to have answered in prayer? What do you need? Do you need Him to break the grip of the evil one’s teeth? Who or what do you need Him to punch for you? A sour marriage? Loneliness? Guilt? Adultery? Fear? God is ready to deliver you (Psalm 3:8). God is ready to give you true peace.
What a privilege that we see David’s raw emotions in the third chapter of Psalm. We see the crisis of adversity, the cry of pain, the confidence that God hears and answers and that he fights our battles. God defeats our enemies. God blesses his people. It is likely David composed this psalm the morning of the battle when his son died.
It is in honest prayer that we conquer. When fear is met with faith. There is that moment of breakthrough to assurance. That moment when we know God has heard us. Then we are ready to command His deliverance and victory, confident that we are praying in his will. His salvation and blessings become ours, a gift he offers all who walk in him.
Dr. D. Clay Perkins is an adjunct professor at Mid-Atlantic Christian University.