Many Psalms are cries for help in times of distress. This is good news for us. The Psalms show us that we are not alone in our suffering and give us words to help us express our emotions to God.
Psalm 5 was written by David at a time when his enemies were spreading slander and lies about him. The pattern of his prayer can give us both encouragement and structure for our own prayers.
This is my cry for help (Psalm 5:1-3)
The emotion of this prayer is evident: “consider my sighing. Listen to my cry for help…” David is weary from the verbal attacks of his enemies and does not try to hide his exhaustion and desperation from God.
The attitude of this prayer is one of expectation. Knowing his enemies are still at work against him, David begins his day with prayer. “In the morning, I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” David is confident that God hears his prayer and will answer. His focus is not on his circumstances, but on God. He is not just waiting for his circumstances to change, he is watching for God to act on his behalf.
This is who You are (Psalm 5:1, 4-7)
David bases his prayer on the character of God. He declares:
- You are my King and my God (v. 1).
- You are a God of justice (v. 4-6). The wicked cannot stand in your presence. I know you punish evil.
- You are a God of steadfast love and mercy (v. 7). Because of your great love and mercy, I will humble myself in worship before you.
This is what I need (Psalm 5:8-10)
David is specific in his requests.
- I need direction. David asks God to lead him in the righteous way (The righteous way is described in Psalm 1). He asks God to “make straight your way before me”, or make it easy for me to find your way and to follow you.
- I need deliverance. David asks God to deal with slander and lies of his enemies who are opposed to God. David recognizes that these sinful words have consequences, and he asks God to judge his enemies’ actions.
This is my reason for joy (Psalm 5:11-12)
David closes his prayer by declaring that God’s protection gives him and all people who love God’s name (His character and promises) a reason to have joy. God is our refuge. He is the One we trust in, confide in, hope in, our shelter from the storms of life. God blesses the righteous, and gives them security, surrounding them with a protective shield of His favor and delight.
Father, thank you that I can be honest about my emotions with you when life is hard. Thank you that I can lay my requests before you and watch expectantly for you to work on my behalf. You are a God of justice and mercy. Thank you for your mercy toward me. Show me your way today. You are my protection – I take refuge in you. Surround me with your favor as a shield. Amen.