Show Me the Way to Go

Let’s dive in deeper into Psalm 143, specifically verses 7-12, as we look at six prayers from a desperate heart.

Lord, hear my prayer.
In your faithfulness listen to my plea,
and in your righteousness answer me.
Answer me quickly,
Lord; my spirit fails.
Don’t hide your face from me,
or I will be like those
going down to the Pit.
Let me experience
your faithful love in the morning,
for I trust in you.
Reveal to me the way I should go
because I appeal to you.
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord;
I come to you for protection.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit
lead me on level ground.
11 For your name’s sake, Lord,
let me live.
In your righteousness deliver me from trouble,
12 and in your faithful love destroy my enemies.
Wipe out all those who attack me,
for I am your servant.

David had been anointed as the future King of Israel.  Only problem was that King Saul was still on the throne.  It seemed Saul was hot on David’s heels every time he turned around. It is no wonder that so many of David’s psalms are psalms of crying out and desperation.  In verse 7, David prayed for God to answer him quickly because his spirit was failing.  Today, let’s look at David’s next prayer of desperation.  In verse 8, he cries out to God, “Reveal to me the way I should go.”  David was hiding out in caves and had all these other people with him looking to him for direction.  Each morning, David would wake up and say to God, “Help me to know your faithfulness!  I am trusting you!”  Every day he would pray, “Show me the way to go.”  David was a great leader. As a leader, he knew that he needed God to give him direction.  He was confessing to God that he was totally reliant on Him.  Let’s be honest this morning.  Have you been relying on anyone or anything more than God?  Your talents?  Your abilities?  Your possessions?   Are you living life just getting by on what you can do and satisfied with what you can do and provide for yourself?  David could have relied on himself and his men and taken Saul out paving the way for him to become king.  He could have easily convinced himself that getting rid of Saul was God’s plan.  After all, God had already said he was going to be the king.  But that would have been taking matters into his own hands and taking a shortcut around the path that God had for him.  So every morning, David got up and reminded himself of God’s faithfulness and continued to ask God to show him the way to go.  That’s a great place for us to start each morning also.  “Lord, I may not be exactly where I want to be, but thank you, Jesus,  I’m not where I used to be.  You are so faithful.  I’m totally relying upon You.  Show me the way to go.”    

 

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Having a Long View

Today will close out our study of the six prayers of a desperate leader.  To refresh your memory, the first prayer is “Answer me quickly, Lord, because my spirit is failing.  The second prayer is “Show me the way to go because I trust you.” The third prayer is “Rescue me, Lord, because I am hiding in You.”  The fourth prayer is “Teach me to do Your will.”  The fifth prayer is “Lead me on level ground.”  Let’s keep moving forward in David’s psalm and learn the sixth and final prayer of desperation.

Lord, hear my prayer.
In your faithfulness listen to my plea,
and in your righteousness answer me.
Answer me quickly,
Lord; my spirit fails.
Don’t hide your face from me,
or I will be like those
going down to the Pit.
Let me experience
your faithful love in the morning,
for I trust in you.
Reveal to me the way I should go
because I appeal to you.
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord;
I am hiding in you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit
lead me on level ground.
11 For your name’s sake, Lord,
let me live. 
In your righteousness deliver me from trouble,
12 and in your faithful love destroy my enemies.
Wipe out all those who attack me,
for I am your servant.

David was running for his life with King Saul hot on his heels looking to kill him.  That’s enough to drive anyone to pray the prayer that David prayed in verse 11: “For your name’s sake, LORD, let me live.”  Let me live.  That sounds simple enough.  What could we possibly learn from a prayer to simply live.  From David’s standpoint, he had been anointed as the future king of Israel so his prayer was not just about existing for another day, but about living to fulfill the purpose that God had for him in his life.  David was praying with the long view in mind.
Let’s be honest.  How many of our prayers are long view prayers?  Many times, we shoot quick prayers up to God for immediate circumstances and needs.  But imagine if our prayer lives were focused on ten years from now.  I have to tell you that of the six prayers we’ve talked about over the last 8 days, this is the one that is challenging me the most.  It has made me consider the next twenty-five years of my life and what God wants me to do.  It’s made me consider how my prayers are shaping me for where I will be ten years from now.
Where do you hope to be in ten years?  How about twenty years from now?  What if all of our prayers for the next thirty days were long view prayers?  How would that challenge your prayer life?  How would that change you and your family?  How would that change our church?  “God, let me live, so that I can be about accomplishing the plans you have for me.  For your name’s sake, Lord.  May my next twenty-five years be about you.”

 

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Lead Me On Level Ground

We continue with our six prayers from a desperate leader from Psalm 143.  To recap so far, the first prayer is “Answer me quickly, Lord, because my spirit is failing.  The second prayer is “Show me the way to go because I trust you.” The third prayer is “Rescue me, Lord, because I am hiding in You.”  The fourth prayer is “Teach me to do Your will.”  We are learning so much from David’s prayer life that will impact our own.  Ready for the next prayer?  Let’s go!

Lord, hear my prayer.
In your faithfulness listen to my plea,
and in your righteousness answer me.
Answer me quickly,
Lord; my spirit fails.
Don’t hide your face from me,
or I will be like those
going down to the Pit.
Let me experience
your faithful love in the morning,
for I trust in you.
Reveal to me the way I should go
because I appeal to you.
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord;
I am hiding in you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit 
lead me on level ground.
11 For your name’s sake, Lord,
let me live.
In your righteousness deliver me from trouble,
12 and in your faithful love destroy my enemies.
Wipe out all those who attack me,
for I am your servant.

Lead me on level ground.  This is a prayer that we don’t pray much when it comes to our personal Christian life and especially when it comes to our church life or maybe our business life, but it is such a good phrase and good prayer.  We always want to move up, to feel like we are climbing towards something greater.  But David prayed for level.  He was in the fight and running for his life and he prayed, “God, could I just have a little normal?  Could I just have a little consistency? Would your Holy Spirit just keep things level for me?”  Most of the times, we don’t like level.  We get bored with it.  We think nothing is happening.  We think that God must not be blessing us.  Let me give us four questions today to ask ourselves:
1.  Where are you cursing your level instead of learning in it?  Did you ever think that maybe God is trying to teach you something during the flat seasons of your life?
2.  What dangers are you not experiencing because you are in a level season? Maybe things aren’t growing quickly right now because God is keeping you from neglecting your wife or your children at a time that they really need you?  Maybe God wants you to learn and remember the lessons from your last season of growth before He moves you to your next season of growth.
3.  What should you be fixing in your level season?  Level seasons are a great time to fix broken things.
4.  What should you be preparing for in your level season?  Have you thought about this or are you too busy cursing your level season?   If you are in a level season right now, you’ve got some time to do some prep work so you are ready when God brings your next season of growth.  Maybe God is waiting to bring your next season until you are prepped and ready.

David prayed for level.  We don’t always like it, but thank God when He sends a level season our way as well.  I don’t want to live in level.  I want to be pressing forward to the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  But every once in a while, a level season is exactly what I need.  By the way, and don’t miss this, if you have been in a level season for a year or longer, you may have moved from a level season to a lazy one.  I think I’ll just leave that right there.

 

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Teach Me To Do Your Will

We have been looking at six prayers of a desperate leader from Psalm 143.  To recap so far, the first prayer is “Answer me quickly, Lord, because my spirit is failing.  The second prayer is “Show me the way to go because I trust you.” The third prayer is “Rescue me, Lord, because I am hiding in You.”  Today, let’s keep moving forward in David’s prayer to verse 10.

Lord, hear my prayer.
In your faithfulness listen to my plea,
and in your righteousness answer me.
Answer me quickly,
Lord; my spirit fails.
Don’t hide your face from me,
or I will be like those
going down to the Pit.
Let me experience
your faithful love in the morning,
for I trust in you.
Reveal to me the way I should go
because I appeal to you.
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord;
I am hiding in you.
10 Teach me to do your will, 
for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit
lead me on level ground.
11 For your name’s sake, Lord,
let me live.
In your righteousness deliver me from trouble,
12 and in your faithful love destroy my enemies.
Wipe out all those who attack me,
for I am your servant.

 

The fourth prayer from a heart that is desperate for God is “Teach me to do Your will.”  This is really incredible to think about because even in the midst of all of the junk that David was going through, hiding out in caves and constantly on the run because of King Saul, he still prayed, “Lord, teach me to do your will.” In the midst of his trials and tribulations, David had a teachable spirit.  My friend, Matt Keller, wrote a book called The Key to Everything.  In it, he proposes that the key to everything is teachability.  If you want to continue to grow to become more like Jesus, you have got to have a teachable spirit.  In praying for God to teach him to do His will, David was saying, “God, you are the boss!  You are in charge!” Here’s a question for you to answer today:  Who is in charge right now?  Is it you or God?  There’s only room for one on the throne of your life.  Today, will you pray, “God, teach me to do Your will”?  What does He want you to do right now?  What is His will for your marriage?  What is His will for your family?  What is His will for your job?  What is His will for your influence?  David was saying “yes” to God.  Will you go ahead and put your “yes” on the table?  If you will say “yes” to the Lord, you might just find out that He will show you where He is asking you to join Him in His work. 

 

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Where Are You Hiding?

This week we are looking at six prayers from a desperate leader in Psalm 143.  To recap so far, the first prayer is “Answer me quickly, Lord, because my spirit is failing.  The second prayer is “Show me the way to go because I trust you.”  Today, let’s keep moving forward in David’s prayer to verse 9.

Lord, hear my prayer.
In your faithfulness listen to my plea,
and in your righteousness answer me.
Answer me quickly,
Lord; my spirit fails.
Don’t hide your face from me,
or I will be like those
going down to the Pit.
Let me experience
your faithful love in the morning,
for I trust in you.
Reveal to me the way I should go
because I appeal to you.
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord; 
I am hiding in you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit
lead me on level ground.
11 For your name’s sake, Lord,
let me live.
In your righteousness deliver me from trouble,
12 and in your faithful love destroy my enemies.
Wipe out all those who attack me,
for I am your servant.

The third prayer of a desperate leader is “Rescue me for I am hiding in You.”  David had been anointed as the future King of Israel.  Only problem was that King Saul was still on the throne.  It seemed Saul was hot on David’s heels every time he turned around. Every day Saul was chasing David across the entire countryside.  David was on the run and he had nowhere to hide.  So he cried out in desperation, “God, you’ve got to rescue me because I am hiding in You.”  You may get tempted to focus your prayers on your perceived enemies this morning, but I want to encourage you to ask yourself this question:  What or who are you hiding in?  One thing is certain, every person, especially leaders, hide themselves in something.  How about you?  Where are you hiding today?  You’ve got worldly enemies so you hide in your home.  You’ve got financial concerns so you are hiding in your work.  You’ve got relationship issues so you are hiding in yourself.  You’ve got issues at home so you hide in your hobbies.  You’ve got spiritual issues so you hide in your busy schedule.  You hide behind your sin.  You hide behind your addiction.  You hide behind distractions.  There’s lots of places to hide, but none of those places can rescue you from your real enemy.  David knew that God was the only One who could rescue him from Saul.  He’s the only One that can rescue you as well.  How do you hide yourself in Him?  You get in your secret place, your prayer closet.  You hide yourself in God through prayer.  We’ve got many really big things ahead of us as a church.  I’m asking you to ramp up your prayer life.  Let’s get in our secret places and hide ourselves in God asking Him to rescue us, to show us the direction to go, to answer us quickly lest our spirit grow weak. 

 

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Answer Me Quickly, Lord

Lord, hear my prayer.
In your faithfulness listen to my plea,
and in your righteousness answer me.
Answer me quickly, Lord;
my spirit fails.
Don’t hide your face from me,
or I will be like those
going down to the Pit.
Let me experience
your faithful love in the morning,
for I trust in you.
Reveal to me the way I should go
because I appeal to you.
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord;
I come to you for protection.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit
lead me on level ground.
11 For your name’s sake, Lord,
let me live.
In your righteousness deliver me from trouble,
12 and in your faithful love destroy my enemies.
Wipe out all those who attack me,
for I am your servant.
Psalm 143:1, 7-12

We aren’t exactly sure what is going on with David when he writes this psalm, but we know enough about his circumstances to understand his desperation.  In your desperation, what typically is the focus of your prayers?  Over the next several days, we are going to look at six prayers of a desperate leader.  John Piper says, “You can measure your spiritual temperature by whether your prayers are richly seasoned with expressions of longing for your own growth in godliness. Do you plead with God to make you more joyful, more loving, more patient, more kind, more gentle, more earnest, more disciplined, etc.? Or do you only pray that he get you out of this and that financial pinch or sickness or predicament at work. If so, call to mind that God did not create us and redeem us merely to live and live well off; he created and redeemed us to be holy as he is holy, to walk in his good will and so bring glory to him.”

In verse 7, David prays, “Answer me quickly, Lord.”  That’s a prayer we can relate with can’t we?  Most of the time, I want God to answer me ASAP.  “God, I want this and I want it now.”  It would have been tempting for David to pray, “God, I’m supposed to be the king so could you hurry up with that?” But notice why David was asking God to answer him quickly.  It was because his spirit was failing.  David was desperate for God to move quickly, but it wasn’t about personal advancement, it was about his soul.Today, spend time praying about your soul.   Start your Monday by seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness. Ask God to help you be holy.  You and I can ask God to answer us quickly when it isn’t about us moving up the ladder, but rather it’s about keeping our soul from moving down into a pit.

 

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Above and Beyond

20 Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us- 21 to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
I want to stress to you again today not to forget that the above verses are a doxology, a hymn of praise to God.  If you haven’t already, get your Bible out right now and read all of Ephesians 3.  By the time Paul gets to our verses above, I believe he is singing at the top of his lungs!  Why is this important?  If he isn’t singing then the above verses are just a statement on the sovereignty of God:  God can do anything He wants to do.  That sounds fine, but to be honest, there are tons of people who believe in their head that God can do anything He wants, but they don’t sing about it.  How about you?  When you think about the fact that God is all-loving and all-powerful, does it move you at all?  For Paul, this thought caused him to shout and sing, “GLORY TO GOD!!!”

When Paul thought about God, he was overwhelmed by His love.  Verses 17-19 says, ” I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, 19 and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Paul sang because he knew that God’s love for the church is beyond anything he could ask.  But not only is God all-loving.  He is also all-powerful.  He is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us.  His power over the church is greater than anything Paul can even think.

So here is a good thought for today.  If God’s love for the church is beyond what we can ask and if God’s power over the church is beyond what we can think, then let’s boldly approach Him today with our prayers seeking what He would have us do for His glory! 

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