I’m going to make a bold statement. Dependence on prayer directly relates to our feeling of need and our belief in a God who cares enough to answer. You may think to yourself, “I got this,” or some other type of “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality such that you may not feel the need to pray to God. Likewise, if you view God as distant or uncaring, or that your problems are either too big or too small, then your prayer life will probably be negatively affected. However, when we (correctly) understand that we desperately need God’s continual intervention and provision, as well as understanding that there is nothing too big or too small for which to pray, and also that there is a big God who will always answer, that will motivate your prayer life.
In Psalm 20, David and his army appear to be on the eve of battle. War in the ancient world happened about every Spring (2 Sam 11:1), so it was not an uncommon endeavor. In verses 1–5, notice the pronouns. In this section, the people of God are praying for their king who is going to fight on their behalf. Verse 5 specifically expresses a confident expectation that God will provide victory for his anointed king.
Verses 6–9 switch pronouns, no longer is it “you” referring to David and “we” referring to the people. Now it is “I,” because this is David’s prayer for himself entering into battle. Again, he expresses confidence in the expectation that the Lord will give victory to his anointed. Likewise, as we see in verse 7, others trust their military might for victory; however, David understands that victory belongs to the Lord and it is his to give.
Sending loved ones off to battle has a way of increasing the intensity and frequency of our prayers. War reminds people of our own mortality. We quickly forget our fragility. Thus, we lose the feeling of need to depend on God as I mentioned above.
Cultivating a feeling of need is a challenge in a culture that celebrates independence and self-sufficiency. While this psalm was written about David entering into a physical battle, we understand that we stand in the middle of a spiritual battle between spiritual forces. So, whether we feel it or not, we all have a tremendous need for the Lord’s protection as the Holy Spirit restrains evil in this world as well as convicting people of sin and righteousness.
This psalm is a great reminder for the need to pray. I love the example of the people praying for their king and those who will fight on their behalf. Take some time today to pray for world leaders as well as the men and women in uniform standing in our defense. In addition, pray for your spiritual leaders. Our world is full of examples of those in ministry who have failed morally or through some other sin. I am amazed at the integrity of our staff team, however, nobody is safe from temptation and we must all remain vigilant—your prayers are felt and are effective, and as a staff we thank you for your prayer. Lastly, pray for yourself that you might withstand the slings and arrows of the enemy, that you can endure in a sinful world, and withstand the temptations of the flesh.
By: Tyler Short