A Morning Prayer
We often regard morning as a suitable time to pray. While we should be cautious about setting seasons aside as being more holy than others, there remains a unique suitability for prayer associated with morning. As morning is generally the best time for learning, when the mind is fresh and while it is unencumbered with the affairs of the day, so this season is ideally suited for prayer. It is striking that at the beginning of the Psalter, this is the second Psalm to commend the morning prayer vigil. The 3rd Psalm makes mention of David’s meditation before rising to marshal his troops against the Absalom’s rebellion (Psalm 3:5-6). This Psalm is even more explicit, “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning” (v3).
1:The Priority for Morning Prayer v1-3
Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation. Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.
In is to be noted that in verses 1-2 there are three kinds of prayer:
A Words; This is normally how we perceive prayer. We frame our words and construct our sentences using verbal utterances.
B Meditation; These are thoughts that we do not verbalise. Despite the fact that we normally regard prayer as being an exercise using words there are many more prayers that are expressed by meditation. Many of these thoughts involve the inner secret longings and battles of the soul which are private and personal yet understood and recognised by God.
C Cry; On this word CH Spurgeon wrote:
“Weeping has a voice – a melting plaintive tone, and ear-piercing shrillness, which reaches the very heart of God; and crying hath a voice – soul-moving eloquence; coming from our heart to God’s heart. “
In the 3rd verse David employed a rather specific word to describe the action of prayer:
“In the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee…”
Mr Spurgeon wrote of our prayers being “arranged” before God. Setting out our worship and our petitions before the Lord at the beginning of the day sounds like a good and absolute priority. John Trapp spoke of marshalling our prayers at the beginning of the day. We begin the day with many worries and a few plans. But do we plan to schedule our prayers before God before we do anything?
2:The Person for Morning Prayer v4-6
For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity. Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the Lord will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.
Prayer is for God, for His glory. He is the one to whom we pray. David defines God in terms of who He is not. He takes no pleasure in wickedness, the evil workers and the foolish man cannot stand in his presence. The purity of God comes to the fore. David clearly hates what God hates, he will pray against what God opposes and he will seek not to be polluted with wickedness himself personally. By meditating upon God our opposition to sin is intensified and our hearts are purified in His presence. Prayer endows us with convictions to oppose and resist sin because we stand before the Holy God.
3:The Preparation in Morning Prayer v7
But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.
This Psalm has been described as one of preparation for those who are coming to worship God on the Lord’s Day. It is apparent that David on this day was intending on drawing near to the tabernacle. On Sunday we ought to commence the day with prayer as we approach the assembling together of Christ’s Church. Heart preparation will equip us for worship and open our hearts for the Word.
Preparation gave David two characteristics as he approached the Lord’s House:
A Gratitude; He described himself as coming into the Lord’s House “in the multitude of thy mercy”. There was a sense of humility and gladness that God had been merciful and gracious to him. He was not like the wicked people he had described in the precious verses, because of the mercy of God.
B Fear; He came to the tabernacle to worship God and he did so with a holy fear or reverence. Worship is based on our reverence of God, our consciousness of His awe inspiring presence.
4:The Path Beyond Morning Prayer v8-10
Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face. For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue. Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against thee.
David now contemplated the day that lay ahead. He was especially concerned about His enemies, their schemes and their accusations. In this Psalm he prays for their destruction. He commits the grave matter into the hands of great and supreme judge of all. A fitting reminder, that at the beginning of the day we should commit every plan and every eventuality into the care the Alpha and Omega.
5:The Praise in Morning Prayer v11
But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.
Prayer is incomplete without praise. This verse contains much by way of exuberance. He begins by speaking of rejoicing which means “to brighten”. Then he proceeds to describe a people who were shouting with joy. Finally he employs the word “joyful” which literally means to jump with joy. There is a progression leading to extreme happiness.
Yet David’s situation was unchanged. He still had to face a day filled with opposition and attack. Why was he filled with such a sense of peace? The answer lies in his faith. In the words of this verse he both trusted God and loved His name. Christianity is more than a creed and profession. It is passion and love which permeates the entire life. Therefore the Christian can face every day with peace and gladness.
6:The Promise in Morning Prayer v12
For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.
David’s promise for the day was that God was his shield. He could rely upon His protection. This was what maintained Martin Luther through much insecurity and many threatenings. After he attacked the doctrine of indulgences he was summoned by Cardinal Cajetan. The Church and the Empire were hindered from killing Luther because Prince Frederick of Saxony protected the monk. When one of the Cardinal’s servants taunted Luther, “Where will you find shelter, if your patron, the Elector of Saxony, should desert you?” Luther wisely replied:
“Under the shelter of Heaven”