Psalm 141:1 “Lord, I cry out to You; make haste to me! Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You.”
Psalm 141:2 “Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.”
Psalm 141:8 “But my eyes are upon You, O God the Lord; in You I take refuge; do not leave my soul destitute.”
Without giving the details of the particular trial he is facing, David writes a recipe for success when overcome with opposition. The recipe includes three key ingredients.
First, he speaks of crying out to the Lord. Obviously, David is referring to prayer, but by using the term ‘cry’, he is drawing a picture of those times when we are driven to intense prayer. It is the cry of desperation, birthed from a realization that our hope rests in God alone.
Second, he reminds us of the way God feels about prayer. To Him it is like sweet incense filling the heavenlies. God delights in the prayers of His people, because of the benefits prayer brings to the crying heart. James reminds us that we often lack, only because we have not asked (James 4:2 b). Jesus told us that we should ask with persistence. Adding, asking diligently, seeking and knocking until the Lord provides the remedy (Luke 11:8).
Finally, the third ingredient in his recipe for success, is having our eyes looking upward to the Lord. Since the eyes are the primary way information gets into our minds, where we look will have a heavy impact upon what we pursue. When our eyes are fixed upon the Lord, we will find that our thoughts follow. Soon the fear, anxiety and hopelessness, is replaced with a confident assurance that God is on His throne, and will run to the aid of His children. Hebrews 12:2 advises us to be, “. . . looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, . . . .”
The recipe David wrote is one that has been used by God’s people down through the ages. Countless men and women have faced difficulties that could have been their end, only to find, after seeking the Lord, they were delivered.
2 Chronicles 20 tells the story of one such occasion. The people of God were under attack from the combined forces of Syria, Ammon, and other unnamed enemies. They were greatly outnumbered, and defeat was certain; until King Jehoshaphat resorted to David’s recipe for success. Instead of gathering the generals in the board room to discuss strategy, he called the people together to seek the Lord. As a nation, they began to fast, pray, and call upon the Lord. People congregated from all over the nation to seek God. We read that Jehoshaphat cried out to the Lord, “O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” (2 Chronicles 20:12) What a statement and what a statesman! Rather than standing before the people, pretending his party had developed a remedy for the national crisis, he confidently pronounced, that while he was without a solution, they would fix their eyes upon the Lord; knowing that He alone could deliver them. God responds to his cry with one of the sweetest promises found in Scripture, 2 Chronicles 20:17, “You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.”
Once the people turned their eyes to the Lord and began to cry out to Him, their victory was certain. It was only a matter of time; the enemies turned on one another, and Judah was saved. What battle are you facing today? The secret of your success will be found when you remember the great value of prayer. Fix your gaze upon Jesus, and cry out to Him. You may not know what else to do, but keep your eyes upon the Lord, for He will deliver you.
Questions for Psalm 141
- What is prayer illustrated as in verse 2?
- Do you need to pray verse 3 today?
- Verse 5 is essentially a prayer to be open to rebuke from his believing friends. Are you open to being corrected? Take a moment to pray for a softened heart.
- Verse 9 mentions snares. What are some of the pitfalls that you are accustom to falling into and need to avoid today?