Apr 17, 2013
When David wrote Psalm 86, he lacked joy, as we see from what he prays in v.4 —
Make glad the soul of your servant.
He’d known joy in the past, as we see from Psalm 4:7 —
You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.
But not now. Not today. Today there was no joy.
What To Do?
What do you do when you lack joy? Maybe you —
- Look on the bright side.
- Ignore it and get to work.
- Call someone and complain.
- Break out a six-pack.
But David did none of these. David prayed. David turned his heart towards God and prayed —
Make glad the soul of your servant.
For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You.
(Psa 86:4-5 from the New American Standard Version.)
I pray these verses at least once a week. And God often uses them to change my heart and bring me joy in Him.
So if today you lack joy, pray this prayer —
“Make glad the soul of your servant”
Come to God as you are. Confess any sin that needs confessing. And trust Jesus Christ to forgive you, change you, and satisfy you.
Then pray — make glad the soul of your servant.
This means —
- Turn my heart from whatever else I have pursued for joy (Jer 2:12-13);
- Strengthen my faith in Your Word (Mark 9:29);
- Show me Your all-satisfying glory in Christ (2Cor 4:6);
- Through this give me joy in You (John 6:35).
Then David gives God a reason for why God should make David glad. So join David in praying that reason —
“For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul”
Tell God — I’m lifting up my soul to you. I’m not turning to the refrigerator, to shopping, to the internet.
I’m lifting up my soul to you and you alone, because it’s only in You that there’s fulness of joy (Psa 16:11). It’s You alone who are my exceeding joy (Psa 43:4).
So, because I’m lifting up my soul to you — make my soul glad in You.
Then David lists three truths about God which, if we will fully trust them — will make our souls glad.
“For You, Lord, are good”
This changes everything. The Creator of the Universe is good. The One whose will controls everything is good.
God is perfectly, flawlessly, constantly, and continuously good.
So, because you are trusting Christ, He will not turn away from doing you good (Jer 32:40). He rejoices to do you good (Jer 32:41).
So pray — help me see that You, Lord, are good.
Help me trust that because You are good, every problem I’m facing now is a gift from You — a gift of more joy in beholding You (2Cor 4:17).
Help me trust that because You are good, You will give me all the wisdom, strength, grace, and love that I will ever need (Phil 4:19).
Keep praying over these truths until the Holy Spirit enables you to see and feel God’s goodness.
“And ready to forgive”
Often when I see God’s goodness, I then feel convicted by my badness.
Maybe that’s why David next mentions God’s forgiveness.
So pray — help me see that you, Lord, are ready to forgive.
Help me see that Your Son bore my sins in His body (1Pe 3:21), that all my guilt has been punished in Him (Isa 53:4), and that because of Christ, You, Father, are always ready to forgive me (Luk 15:20).
Help me see that because of Christ, there’s nothing that can ever keep me from receiving your goodness (Rom 8:35).
Keep praying over these truths until you are assured of forgiveness through Christ, and that God is rejoicing to do you good with all His heart and soul.
“And abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You”
This is the clincher.
Because you are trusting Christ, God is not passive towards you — He brings lovingkindness to you.
And not just lovingkindness — but abundant lovingkindness.
But you might wonder — exactly who gets this abundant lovingkindness? Pastors? Those who are without sin? No.
David tells us — it’s everyone who calls upon God. Read it again —
And abundant in lovingkindness to ALL who call upon You.
That means YOU. Because you are calling upon God through Jesus Christ, He is and will be abundant in lovingkindness to you.
Pray over that until God enables you to see and feel it.
When you do — you will be glad.
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And here are some related posts you might find helpful –
A Promise For Those Feeling Far From God
How George Mueller read God's Word
Why Keep Praying When I'm Feeling Dull?
How To Strengthen Your Faith
(Picture from everystockphoto by peasap.)