10For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.
11Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name.
12I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.
13For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol. Psalm 86:10-13
If there was ever a year that required us to collectively surrender our worries and fears to prayer and the Lord, 2020 is likely it. The array of issues, from the pandemic to economic and civil unrest, have left us all weary, in need of assurance and waiting for hope. Psalm 86 gives it to us along with a helpful lesson on prayer.
Known as the Prayer of David, it is the earnest, heartfelt cry of a man of God in a desperate situation laying hold of the God whom he knew well. The psalm is filled with requests, many repetitively shared with God with a strong sense of urgency, likely because David saw no signs as of yet that his prayers would be answered. He asks the Lord to teach him the way so that his faith will remain steadfast, even in the midst of doubt and fear. And in the same way, today we look to God and prayer in the midst of our own turmoil.
And rather than turning to prayer as a last resort, this psalm reminds us that prayer should be our first resort and that we should turn to it with our whole heart, trusting that the Lord will deliver us. The simple truth shared here is that God’s abundant love, grace and mercy should motivate us to come to Him in prayer with all our needs, whether great or small.
And as we enter Advent, this psalm helps us to examine our heart, our attitude and make us more intentional with prayer and Christ-centered as we prepare and celebrate Christmas. Let us join in prayer:
This Advent, make it real in our hearts. Never have we needed Your joy and peace more than now. Thank You for the gift of Jesus, our Immanuel, the Word made flesh. We not only need Your peace and joy; Lord, we crave it. You’ve promised rest for the weary, victory for the battle-scarred, peace for the anxious, and acceptance for the broken-hearted—not just at Advent, but every day of every year. Your name is still called “Wonderful,” “Counselor,” “The Mighty God,” “The Everlasting Father,” and “The Prince of Peace.” We know that peace on earth can only come when hearts find peace with You. You are still our Joy. You are still our Peace. You are no longer a babe in the manger. You are Lord of lords and King of kings. And we still celebrate You as Lord—this Christmas and always.
~Edited from Rebecca Barlow Jordan’s “A Prayer for Peace & Joy at Christmas”
May you and those you love find peace, calm and hope through prayer and God’s love during this Advent season.