• johned@aibi.ph

Praying Like David Prayed

In this article I would like to teach you to "pray as David prayed", to do this we shall be looking at the book of Psalms. But first we need to look at three aspects of praying as David prayed.

1. The structure of the Psalm. A Psalm is not a poem or a song though it may be set to music or be in poetic format. Psalms are not primarily works of art. A Psalm is an intense personal prayer between a man and his God. Psalms are anchored in life and reality with a vengeance. Psalms vary in structure greatly but a fairly good approximate structure is found in Psalm 25..

Initial Call To God
Situation To God
Thinking About God
God To Situation
Final Call To God

Look at Psalm 25, and see how it fits this pattern:

Psalms 25 Of David. To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; {2} in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. {3} No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse. {4} Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; {5} guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. {6} Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. {7} Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD. {8} Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. {9} He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. {10} All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of his covenant. {11} For the sake of your name, O LORD, forgive my iniquity, though it is great. {12} Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.{13} He will spend his days in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land. {14} The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. {15} My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare.{16} Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. {17} The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish. {18} Look upon my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins. {19} See how my enemies have increased and how fiercely they hate me! {20} Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.{21} May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you. {22} Redeem Israel, O God, from all their troubles!

2. Psalms and our spiritual state. The psalm is spirit calling to Spirit and as such comes from the inner being. Some Psalms are very broken , others raw and angry, others sorrowful and deep, whatever the Psalm is it is the spirit of the Psalmist calling out too God. Lets look at Psalm 51 together..

Psalms 51 For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. {2} Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. {3} For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. {4} Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. {5} Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. {6} Surely you desire truth in the inner parts ; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. {7} Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. {8} Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. {9} Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. {10} Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. {11} Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. {12} Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. {13} Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. {14} Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. {15} O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. {16} You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. {17} The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. {18} In your good pleasure make Zion prosper; build up the walls of Jerusalem. {19} Then there will be righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings to delight you; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

a) What is David's spiritual state as he begins this Psalm?

b) What changes seem to occur?

c) Would you be game to publish a poem as intimate as Ps 51?

3. Calling for blessings.

Many of the Psalms are bold requests for blessings from God, sometimes they even seem extravagant they ask so much. Read David's prayer for Solomon in Ps 72, how extravagant does it seem? Was it fulfilled?

(Psalms 72 NIV) Of Solomon.

Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness. {2} He will judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice. {3} The mountains will bring prosperity to the people, the hills the fruit of righteousness. {4} He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; he will crush the oppressor. {5} He will endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations. {6} He will be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth. {7} In his days the righteous will flourish; prosperity will abound till the moon is no more. {8} He will rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. {9} The desert tribes will bow before him and his enemies will lick the dust. {10} The kings of Tarshish and of distant shores will bring tribute to him; the kings of Sheba and Seba will present him gifts. {11} All kings will bow down to him and all nations will serve him. {12} For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. {13} He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. {14} He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight. {15} Long may he live! May gold from Sheba be given him. May people ever pray for him and bless him all day long. {16} Let grain abound throughout the land; on the tops of the hills may it sway. Let its fruit flourish like Lebanon; let it thrive like the grass of the field. {17} May his name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun. All nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed. {18} Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds. {19} Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen. {20} This concludes the prayers of David son of Jesse.

a) What blessings are being asked for?

b) How confident does David seem that Solomon would be blessed?

c) How many of these blessings tie in with promises of God?

4. The "new song"... This is not licence to indulge so called creativity or a call to Christian musicians to increase their output. It is a call to believers to sing about the marvelous things God is doing in their lives. The phrase a "new song" is used 6 times in Psalms and all of these occasions connect it directly to God DOING something. For instance Psalm 98:1..

Psalms 98:1 "A psalm. Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him."

The other references are, Ps 33:3-4, 40:1-3, 96:1-3, 144:9-10, 149:1-4.

Songs and actions go together in the Old Testament. For instance after the Red Sea, Miriam led the women in a few verses of a new song "the horse and rider thrown into the sea..". The occasion brings about the song. Thus the call to sing a new song is a call to believers to acknowledge God when He acts and sing to Him in praise for His mighty deeds. It is fundamentally a call to thankfulness, celebration and praise.

Psalms 146

Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul. {2} I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. {3} Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. {4} When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. {5} Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, {6} the Maker of heaven and earth,the sea, and everything in them the LORD, who remains faithful forever. {7} He upholds the cause of the oppressed and give food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, {8} the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous. {9} The LORD watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. {10} The LORD reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the LORD.

a) What actions of God are calling forth this song?

b) Christians are sometimes accused of singing songs they don't really mean about a marvelous active God they have never experienced. Do you think it was the case with the Psalmist ?

c) How would your prayer life change if you could really see what God was doing and thank Him for it?


1. Compose a psalm the way David did, think of a situation in your life and write a short prayer to God going through the sequence Call To God, Situation to God, Thinking About God, God To Situation, Resolution, Final Call To God. Share your psalm with a friend.

2. Write a "new song", think of a "marvelous thing" the Lord has done in your life and praise Him for what He has done.

3. Call on God for a blessing, write a short call to God to pour out a specific blessing/series of blessings on you/your family/church etc. Tie it in with the nature and heart of God and His promises to us.

4. Pray for one another...


This article may be freely reproduced for non-profit ministry purposes but may not be sold in any way. For permission to use articles in your ministry, e-mail the editor, John Edmiston at johned@aibi.ph.