Most people are familiar with the model prayer in the New Testament, but there is also a model prayer in the Old Testament.
[Peter Eddington] What is one of the most valuable ways to build a relationship with God? It’s prayer. Right? Now, first God speaks to us through His written Word, through the Bible that we have here with us today, either as in the form of a book or on our smartphones. Right? The Word of God. And then He also guides us through His Holy Spirit. And it was on this day of Pentecost last week, the Feast of Pentecost that we remembered the giving of the Holy Spirit and the beginning of God’s Church. So, He guides our thoughts through His Holy Spirit and speaks to us through His Word. But prayer is us speaking to God, giving Him our side of things, right? And our needs and our wants, and our desires. But prayer can easily be neglected in our busy lives today, in our chaotic world, and especially with the various challenges that are common to all of us.
You remember the American athlete, Tim Tebow, who caused quite a stir because he prayed during his football games? And it was in 2010 that Tebow drew national attention and even mockery for his kneeling in prayer during a game. And on the internet, it became known as “Tebowing” and he was derided for it. But Tim Tebow told the world, “I pray to start my day.” And he says, “I finish it in prayer.” He says, “I’m just thankful for everything, all the blessings in my life and trying to stay that way. I think that’s the best way to start your day and finish your day. It keeps everything in perspective.” That’s Tim Tebow. You can get some of these quotes from him at brainyquote.com.
Martin Luther once expressed that “To be a Christian without prayer is not possible, no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” So, you can’t call yourself a Christian if you don’t pray. According to Luther, Martin Luther. The 16th President of the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln told the nation, “I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right; but it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation may be on the Lord’s side.” I want to be on God’s side. And then a final quote here, that I also got from brainyquote.com, the American politician, preacher, and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is quoted as saying, “Prayer reminds me it’s not just about me. It’s about all the people with whom I share this planet, and all of whom God has created, and all of whom He cares just as much about as He cares about me.” Mike Huckabee.
So, how important is prayer to you, really? How seriously do you consider prayer each day in your life?
There’s a famous passage in the Gospels commonly called “The Lord’s Prayer.” Here in the Church, we more often referred to it as a “prayer outline” or a “model prayer.” So, it’s a synopsis or an outline of the key issues we should be facing and praying about every day. But did you know that there’s an awesome prayer outlined in the Old Testament too? It’s by the person known as a man after God’s own heart. And it parallels in many ways the Lord’s Prayer of the New Testament as you’ll come to see. It’s got a lot of similarities. So, there’s a model prayer in the Old Testament and there’s a model prayer in the New Testament.
So, in the sermon today, we’re going to have a mini Bible study. Just pulling away from my mouth just a little bit here. I try to stop those plosives. There we go. So, in the sermon today, we’re going to try and have a bit of a mini Bible study as we look at this prayer outline. So, even if you can’t turn to everything, at least write down the scripture references as we go along and make a note of them. We’re going to look at more detail at King David’s model prayer, and I’ll simply called the message “King David’s Model Prayer” because prayer is undoubtedly the most important thing we do every day.
As background, let’s first read the famous prayer outline from Matthew 6. Let’s turn there first so that we’re reminded of how it goes and the order of the verses so that when we go to King David’s model pray, we’ll see the similarities.
So, Matthew 6 and of course it starts in verse 9. Matthew 6:9 Matthew 6:9After this manner therefore pray you: Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name.
American King James Version×where Jesus Christ Himself said, “In this manner, therefore, pray:” Here’s how you go about it. And He says, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.” So, verse 9 here begins with a very positive frame of mind, looking forward, looking up to God. Verse 10, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” So, we praise God, we thank God and then we pray for His will and for His coming Kingdom. Verse 11, “Give us this day our daily bread.” So, then we get into our everyday physical needs. And verse 12, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” So, now we’re getting into the spiritual side of life, the forgiveness of sin. And then verse 13, “Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” So, praying for deliverance from sin. “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” So, we conclude with praise for God once again, looking forward, looking up, looking to the Kingdom.
To maintain a strong relationship with God, the Creator of all that is, right, we have to have a conversation with God. So, He talks to us through the power of His Spirit and through His Word and then we reciprocate through prayer. We must listen to Him through His word but also converse with Him through prayer. If you’ll note 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 16 Rejoice ever more.
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
American King James Version×, the apostle Paul reminded the Thessalonians this in 1 Thessalonians 5:16 1 Thessalonians 5:16Rejoice ever more.
American King James Version×, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,” pray without ceasing. And verse 18, “And in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” If you want to know what the will of God is, this part of it right here, pray without ceasing and give thanks. Much of our unceasing communication with God must be in the form of thanksgiving and gratitude. We have to be praising Him and thanking Him. And it’s not just on Thanksgiving Day, right? It’s every day, giving God thanksgiving and praying without ceasing.
So, let’s now look at how King David conversed with God. Let’s look at his model prayer. And we find it in Psalm 145, Psalm 145. If you want to turn over there, you may want to put you a little divider in there or something because we’ll be back and forth through Psalm 145 throughout the message here today. Psalm 145 is the conclusion of the fifth book of Psalms that begins in Psalms 106. You see, in the original manuscripts, the Psalms were categorized into five main books, and Psalm 145 is actually the official conclusion of the Psalms, which is then followed by a kind of Psalm’s appendix. The appendix after Psalm 145 includes five Psalms that reflect on each of the previous five sections or five books of the Psalms. So, that appendix, the last five books of Psalms, it has something to say about all five books up to that point. But Psalm 145 is the conclusion of the fifth section or the fifth book of Psalms that begins in Psalm 106 because it’s a whole study in itself, these five sections of the Psalms, these five books of Psalms.
But Psalm 145 is very thorough and comprehensive and it’s an acrostic Psalm. Each verse begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet in alphabetical order, except for actually verse 14, which contains two phrases that begin with two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. We have 26 letters in the English language alphabet. Hebrew has 22, 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. So, what we see here in Psalm 145, being an acrostic Psalm, is that the first word of the first verse begins with the letter Alef . The first word of the second verse begins with the word Beit . And so on through the whole Hebrew alphabet.
Ever wondered why we call it the alphabet? The Hebrew language’s first letter is Alef , the second word is Beit , so it’s Alefbeit . But Psalm 145 is not the only acrostic Psalm. There are several others as well. I’ll just mention them to you, in case you wanted to write them down, but Psalms 9 and 10, 25, 34, 37, 111, 112 and 119 are all complete or partial alphabetic acrostic Psalms. But being an alphabetical Psalm like this, it’s very artfully composed, it’s poetic. And unfortunately, that poetry is lost in English translation, right? It’s not acrostic for us, but in the original Hebrew, it is in alphabetical order for each verse. And so those who read it in the Hebrew language find it a bit easier to memorize the Psalm because you know what each verse is going to start, which letter it’s going to start with. So, memorization is helped, at least in the original Hebrew, but having each verse begin with the next letter of the alphabet.
The average Orthodox Jewish person recites Psalm 145 three times a day. That’s what they have to do. The Orthodox Jews recite this Psalm 145 three times throughout the day. It’s seen as a model conversation to have with God. So, it’s kind of like the model prayer of Matthew 6, in their eyes. So, let’s begin here in Psalms 145:1 Psalms 145:1I will extol you, my God, O king; and I will bless your name for ever and ever.
American King James Version×. A Psalm of David, “A Praise of David.” And David says, “I will extol You, my God, O King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever.” And then verse 2, “Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever.” David says, “Every day” Prayer has to be a daily matter for us. It should be something that’s a major part of our lives.
So, how did Matthew 6:9 Matthew 6:9After this manner therefore pray you: Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name.
American King James Version×begin? “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.” And Psalm 145 begins with the same beginning model, blessing the name of God. So, that’s how we should start out our prayers.
And then notice verse 3, “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.” So, we praise God and then we acknowledge His greatness. God is in so many ways beyond our true comprehension. Even the smartest scientists and the brainiest physicists struggle with the nature of God and to understand His greatness.
Take a look at Romans 11, for example, in verse 33, the apostle Paul tried to imagine the same greatness. In Romans 11:33 Romans 11:33O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
American King James Version×, Paul told the Romans, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” He says the depth of the knowledge of God. “How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” Paul is saying it’s almost incomprehensible to understand. “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?” And, of course, all we have to do is look up into the heavens at night and see that the universe’s vastness is truly beyond our human comprehension. It really is.
During King David’s time, they could visually, with the naked eye, count about 5,000 stars, yeah, 5,000. And that’s all that we can see to this day. Actually, we can only see half that number. You know why? We can only see about 2,500 of them at a time because we’re standing on a globe and the globe is spinning, so 12 hours later we’re going to see the other half, right? But we see half of them at a time, about 2,500. But now with modern technology, we know that there are actually a lot more stars than that, more than 5,000.
Here’s an article from The Atlantic titled “How Many Stars Are There in the Sky?” It’s by Megan Garber from November 19th, 2013. And I’ll just quote you a couple of parts from the article. She says, “Let’s start with the galaxies. There are, astronomers estimate, around 170 billion galaxies in the observable universe, stretching out over a radius of some 45.7 billion light-years. Those galaxies vary in terms of the number of stars they contain, Universe Today notes:” she says, “Some spiral galaxies have more than a trillion stars each. Some giant elliptical galaxies have 100 trillion stars. They’re also tiny dwarf galaxies— tiny being, obviously, a relative term here— that have a significantly fewer number of stars.” Then she continues, “The Milky Way— our little corner of the observable universe— has, for its part, some 400 billion stars.” She says, “So if we multiply the (estimated) average number of stars in each galaxy by the number of galaxies in the observable universe— and carry the billion, etc.— we get a rough estimate of ALL THE STARS we’re capable of observing… There are roughly a septillion stars in the observable universe.” That’s 1, and then she’s got 24 zeros across the page. So, it’s 1 with 24 zeros after it stars, “Which is,” she says, “for lack of a more fitting description… a lot of stars.”
So, Psalms 145:3 Psalms 145:3Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.
American King James Version×says, “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.” Unsearchable. And you know very well that the scientists haven’t got them all countered, right? It’s just like… It almost seems like an infinite number. And the stars are just one element to consider in God’s greatness. You could go from the great to the microscopic, right? And you go down to the atomic level, and this entire universe is inside an atom. So, it goes both ways, to the infinitely small as well.
So, David is saying, “When you pray, make sure you praise God and honor His greatness.” And unfortunately, in our secular age, many people, even professing Christians, seem to have lost sight of the divine majesty of God. And it seems His name is added more in profanity than in respect. And so when someone like Tim Tebow, a football player, decides to pray and people see it, they make fun of him, they mock him. Just like King David, when the prophets of the Old Testament scriptures and the apostles of the New Testament verses experience God, they saw themselves as utterly inadequate in comparison, saw themselves as nothing before God because God’s greatness is unsearchable.
Look at Job 42, just a couple of verses, for example, the patriarch Job. He became acutely aware of his profound lack of understanding when God revealed to him some aspects of the magnificence of His creation. See, in Job 42, starting in verse 1, Job 42:1 Job 42:1Then Job answered the LORD, and said,
American King James Version×, “Job answered the Lord and said: ‘I know that You can do everything, that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.’” So, we say, yeah, we know God can do everything, but we don’t really know how He can do everything, do we? Verse 3, “You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’” That’s what God asked Job. “Therefore,” says Job, “I have uttered what I did not understand,” He felt that he’d been foolish, “things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’” And Job says, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” So, Job did come to see himself as very insignificant when standing before his Creator.
Notice 1 Timothy 6, if you want to make a note of it, look at the apostle Paul’s attitude when he described the Lord to the young evangelist Timothy, in 1 Timothy 6:15 1 Timothy 6:15Which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
American King James Version×, actually verses 15 and 16. 1 Timothy 6, where Paul reminded Timothy, “…He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light,” so, God dwells in unapproachable light, “whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.” And so, many of the Scriptures, we do see the writers trying to, in some way, talk about the majesty of God.
So we go back to Psalm 145 and then go to verse 4. Let’s go to the next verse. Psalms 145:4 Psalms 145:4One generation shall praise your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.
American King James Version×, as we move through this is prayer outline or this conversation with God, “One generation shall praise Your works to another,” and to another generation, from one generation to the next, “and shall declare Your mighty acts.” So, not only do we praise God in prayer when we begin, but a very important part of the Christian life is to pass on our beliefs to the next generation, to another, as verse 4 says here.
Of course, this idea goes back to the first book of the Bible, to Genesis and to the father of the faithful, Abraham, when he told us this very thing. In fact, God recognized this fact in Abraham in Genesis 18:19 Genesis 18:19For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring on Abraham that which he has spoken of him.
American King James Version×. Genesis 18:19 Genesis 18:19For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring on Abraham that which he has spoken of him.
American King James Version×, God says, “For I have known Abraham, in order that he may command his children and his household after him,” so, God knew that Abraham would pass along his faith to the rest of his household and to his children, from one generation to another. Verse 19 of Genesis 18 concludes with, “that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.” And, of course, Abraham, the father of the faithful, was one who honored this very idea of one generation to the next praising God. Abraham was to pass along his understanding of the way the Lord and so do we. It’s part of our responsibility.
Verse 5 of Psalm 145, Psalms 145:5 Psalms 145:5I will speak of the glorious honor of your majesty, and of your wondrous works.
American King James Version×, “I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works.” So, our Christian life is built on prayer, it’s built on Bible study and verse 5 says it’s built on meditation. We think on the splendor and power of our Creator, on His wonderful work. Verse 5 says, “On His wonderful works.” And so we were reminded not to forget to meditate on these things. Think about them, dwell on them, ponder them.
And then verse 6, “Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, and I will declare Your greatness. They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness, and shall sing of Your righteousness.” So once again, we see King David saying, “Declare the greatness of God.” This Psalm is a very positive and great conclusion to the five great books of the Psalms. And these first 6 or 7 verses actually give a lot more detail than Matthew 6:9 Matthew 6:9After this manner therefore pray you: Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name.
American King James Version×when it comes to, “Hallowed be Thy name.” We’ve got seven verses here about how to say, “Hallowed be Thy name.” A lot of detail here in Psalm 145 that had a praise and honor the greatness of God as we begin our prayer.
Look at 1 Chronicles 29 for a moment, because King David gave similar words of praise when all the gold and silver and fine materials were being gathered together to build Solomon’s temple. King David gave a speech as all of the goods were coming together. King Solomon’s temple was a whole lot more grand than our little video studio out here, right? It was a very, very special dwelling place for God. It’s what it was designed for. King David got to design it, King David got to drop the plans, but it wasn’t till after he died that King Solomon was one that actually built it. 1 Chronicles 29:11 1 Chronicles 29:11Yours, O LORD is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is yours; your is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all.
American King James Version×, in the speech about the temple, David says, “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You,” so, all this gold and silver they gathered to decorate the temple with, he says it came from God. “And you reign over all. In Your hand is power and might. In Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. Now therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name.” King David knew how to put these thoughts into words, didn’t he? So, as the goods were coming in to build the temple, King David is praising God in the speech that he gave.
And in many ways, King David’s model pray, as I said, has an even greater emphasis on the greatness, majesty and power of God than does the Lord’s Prayer outline in Matthew 6. Now, verse 8, Psalms 145:8 Psalms 145:8The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.
American King James Version×. You still got your finger there on Psalm 145? Verse 8, “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy.” So, King David is reminding us, we need to be people of self-control, not fly off the handle. We must be gracious and slow to anger. And self-control is one of the key fruits of the Holy Spirit that should be dwelling within each of us as the Church.
And then verse 9, “The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.” So, the creation is under the merciful watch of God. He watches over all His works. So, as we know, the trees flower here in the spring, the crops grow, the oceans even regenerate and cleanse themselves, the rains purify the air. God is good to all. The “rain falls on the just and the unjust,” we read in another verse. God is good to all.
And then verse 10, “All Your work shall praise You, O Lord, and Your saint shall bless You.” So, verse 10 is telling us those who have the characteristics of the saints are those who bless God, who praise Him. And so we have to ask ourselves, “As a saint, do I follow through with this?” This model prayer in Psalm 145, as I said, actually begins with a whole lot more praise for God than does a prayer of outline of Matthew 6. But as the saints, part of our job is to praise God and to bless His name.
And then verse 11. We’ve actually now got past the praise part, “They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, and talk of Your power,” what’s the next step? In the Matthew 6 model prayer, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” It’s the same progression now here in Psalms 145:11 Psalms 145:11They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom, and talk of your power;
American King James Version×. After the praise and the blessing and the acknowledging of the glory of God, then we talk about His Kingdom, same as Matthew 6.
God intends that ultimately our world will become very different to what we see today. As we know, the first begotten humans of Adam and Eve sinned and took of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And so now, that has been playing out for the last 6,000 years and we see the effects of it in society. There’s some good. There’s people trying to do the right thing. There’s people trying to pray before a game. But there’s also a lot of evil and that’s Satan’s influence on the world.
But God says our world will return to the ideals of the Garden of Eden. Paradise will be restored, and that’s when His Kingdom will come to this earth. The Garden of Eden is kind of like a paradise. The Kingdom of God will be here on earth. And so we speak and pray and talk of the glory of His Kingdom in our prayer and in our preaching and in our talking with one another.
If you want to make a note of it, Revelation 2:7 Revelation 2:7He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said to the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the middle of the paradise of God.
American King James Version×reminds us, “…To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” The tree of life is in the midst of the Paradise of God, Revelation 2:7 Revelation 2:7He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said to the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the middle of the paradise of God.
American King James Version×. And so at some point, Paradise will be restored, the Garden of Eden type environment will be restored. And so we speak of the glory of God’s coming Kingdom.
Mark 1 tells us more about the gospel of the Kingdom and what it is. Some of the very first words of Jesus Christ publicly recorded in Mark 1, and it’s Mark 1:1 Mark 1:1The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
American King James Version×says, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” And then verse 14 and 15, tell us in Mark 1:14-15 Mark 1:14-15 14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent you, and believe the gospel.
American King James Version×, “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,” and you’ll recall that some of His last words to His disciples were “preach the gospel to the whole world,” He said, “to every creature.” That’s our mission, that’s our job, to preach the gospel of the Kingdom. Verse 15, He says, in Mark 1, “The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.” And so we preach the gospel and we prepare our people, right? That’s our motto in United Church of God. And it’s a very unique message.
Some churches teach the Kingdom of God is already here on earth, whether the Kingdom of God is in a particular church, whether the Kingdom of God is in someone’s heart. But the Kingdom of God is an actual government that’s coming to replace all the governments of this world. The Kingdom of God is ultimately going to rule this world. The Kingdom is coming here. Returning husband is going to marry His bride, the saints. And the bridegroom will have made herself ready. It’s a message of repentance. It’s a message of hope. It’s a message of salvation. And it’s a message of a Kingdom to come to this earth. So, Psalm 145 says, “Speak of the glory of God’s kingdom.”
If you look at Psalms 145:12 Psalms 145:12To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.
American King James Version×now, as we get through the Psalm here, Psalms 145:12 Psalms 145:12To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.
American King James Version×, “To make known” we’re supposed to make known, “to the sons of men His mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of His kingdom.” So, King David says, “make known the glorious majesty of His kingdom.” Verse 13, “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures throughout all generations.” So, here’s two more verses about the Kingdom of God, with emphasis on the Kingdom of God.
And then verse 14, “The Lord upholds all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down.” This verse 14 here is the one where the acrostic Psalm switches for a moment. Remember there’s 21 verses but there’s 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. So, verse 14 contains two letters. Of course, in our English Bible, you can’t see that. But the 14th verse here has the 15th letter of the Hebrew alphabet first, then the 14th letter for the second half of the verse. They have been switched. So, 15th letter then the 14th letter. And in the Hebrew language, it’s an unexpected twist to have the 15th letter come before the 14th, and the locals would have noticed that. And so, it’s an unexpected twist to focus first on the Lord dramatically upholding all who fall, being there for people. It’s talking about God giving us our physical needs. God lifts up those who are in trouble. He’s taking care of our physical daily needs, our daily bread.
Look at verse 15, “The eyes of all look expectantly to You, and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” So, food in due season, taking care of everybody’s needs. Once again, what’s the next step in the model prayer of Matthew 6? “Give us this day our daily bread.” Give us our food. Give us our needs. And so it’s the same here. God is the reason that any of us are alive. If He wasn’t on His throne, we would not be here. He satisfies the needs of every living thing, every little bug and spider and snake and human. We’re here because of Him. And these are great verses to think about before giving thanks at a meal, the greatness of God and the fact that He gives us our food in due season.
Verse 17, “The Lord is righteous in all His ways, gracious in all His works.” And verse 18, “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” And so now the Psalm focuses on our spiritual needs– righteousness, truth. A spiritual food and righteousness just like the next verse too in Matthew 6 which say, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” It’s the spiritual side of life now, the forgiveness of sin. And Matthew 6 says, “Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” And so we pray for the deliverance from sin. And so now we’re getting at not just our daily bread but our daily spiritual needs now, in the Psalm 145. Notice here in verse 18, that God is near to anyone who desires a sincere truthful relationship with Him. If you’re sincere, if you call upon Him in a truthful manner, He will hear you, He’ll listen.
You know, this is whether the person is called as the firstfruit now or not. God will still bless you for the record of your life, for your willingness to follow Him even if you’re not being called completely to His truth at this time. God has reasons for whom He calls when and where, but He can still be near to all those who call upon Him in truth. Remember a couple of passages here that may sound familiar to you if you want to write this one down, about being near to those who call upon Him, in Isaiah 55:6 Isaiah 55:6Seek you the LORD while he may be found, call you on him while he is near:
American King James Version×we read, “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.” God says He’s near to anyone who calls on Him in sincerity and truth.
In Romans 10:12 Romans 10:12For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich to all that call on him.
American King James Version×, “There’s no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.” The Lord is rich to all who call upon Him. It’s Romans 10:12 Romans 10:12For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich to all that call on him.
American King James Version×. And so, no doubt, God does hear the prayer of those who call out to Him sincerely, looking for help, those who say, “I pray every morning and every night,” as I mentioned at the beginning of the sermon. There are people that do that and God honors that, even if they’re not being called at this time as firstfruits. In fact, their calling will be a whole lot easier when the time does come to be part of the family of God.
Now, let’s go to verse 19. Psalms 145:19 Psalms 145:19He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.
American King James Version×, “He will fulfill the desires of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.” So, now we’re talking about salvation. In the ultimate sense, the virtuous and righteous will be saved. The righteous will live for eternity. This is the forgiveness of sins through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ making our righteousness and our salvation possible. It’s about being saved and forgiven from sin.
Then verse 20, “The Lord preserves all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy.” That’s kind of the conclusion of the plan of God for humans, right, which is the final lake of fire for those who refuse to obey God. The wicked He will eventually destroy.
And verse 21, “My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, and all flesh shall bless His holy name forever and ever.” That’s the last verse here. So, the Psalm finishes with how it began, with praise for God. This is ultimately where our world is headed. All flesh will eventually praise His holy name. Every knee will eventually bow before God. And as you recall, how does the Matthew 6 model prayer conclude? It concludes with, “For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.” Once again, ending with praise for God in the model prayer of Matthew 6 just like it does here in Psalm 145 praising God and blessing His holy name forever and ever.
So, as we wrap up Psalm 145, which I’ve called a classic conversation with God, that King David has outlined here in what could be termed an Old Testament model prayer. Of course, we should think of the above prayer not as exact words to say but as examples of what to say, what to talk about, what to discuss, of how to praise God, what to ask for. Orthodox Jews memorize Psalm 145 and they repeat it three times a day, that becomes less meaningful when they say it at rote like that. That’s not the intent of David’s prayer in conversation with God, to just repeat it word for word, just like we say Matthew 6 is not either. It’s an outline. It’s a template.
Just go back to the Psalm 141 for a minute, verse 2. Psalms 141:2 Psalms 141:2Let my prayer be set forth before you as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
American King James Version×. I just want to read this passage here in Psalms. Remember that the incense of God’s tabernacle and the temple service in the Old Testament? The incense was to figuratively represent the prayers of God’s people. And Psalms 141:2 Psalms 141:2Let my prayer be set forth before you as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
American King James Version×, King David says, “Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.” And so today as book of Romans tells us, we are living sacrifices, right? And our prayers are the incense of that sacrifice now, that, “my prayer be set before You as incense, and lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.” So, now we are a living sacrifice. And you can read more about the prayers of the saints being as incense in Revelation 5 and Revelation 8. You can check that out sometime.
Actually, I’m going to turn to Revelation 8 as a final passage here. But you remember in Leviticus 16:12 Leviticus 16:12And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the veil:
American King James Version×, the incense was to be beaten fine. When they brought the incense to the tabernacle in the temple to be put on the fire and for that aroma to go up before God, it was to be beaten fine. And this symbolizes the importance of expressing fine detail in our prayers, not being too general. Be specific. Pray about everything, pray about the big things, pray about the little things.
And then Revelation 8:3-4 Revelation 8:3-4 3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints on the golden altar which was before the throne.
4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
American King James Version×, we read, “Another angel, having a golden censer, came up and stood at the altar.” Of course, this is the altar in heaven now, not on earth at the temple or the tabernacle. And this is at the time of the seventh seal, at the end time. We’re reading about it now. This is the end time. And the seventh seal of Revelation and the angel had a golden censer. “He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.” So, the angels are making sure that our prayers are offered on God’s altar, spiritually speaking.
Verse 4, “And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand.” So, just remember when we’re praying where those prayers are going. Before the altar of God, symbolically, the prayers of the saints ascend before God from the angel’s hand there in that end time prophecy.
And so we have to ask ourselves, “Are our prayers like aromatic incense in the presence of God’s throne? What are we praying about? And are we praising Him, like King David outlined for us?” Of course, some prayers will be long, some prayers will be short. It depends on the circumstances. But in any case, we must take time to pray every day. It has been said that “the most effective position for prayer might be dangling upside down from a rope, 60 feet down a well with your nose 6 inches from the water.” Yeah. So, when you’re in a dire circumstance, about to drown on the end of a rope, yeah, you’re going to pray, aren’t you? “There’s no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole” is what we read. But you don’t have to be hanging upside down on a rope to have an effective prayer, and King David gives us a great outline of how to go about this. And never think you don’t have something to pray about. Jesus gave a whole list of subjects, just as King David did here in Psalm 145.
And as you consider Psalm 145 in your Bible study, you can always pray that God will help you pray, so the words will come. And so, as I conclude, next time you read this Psalm in your daily Bible study, reflect more deeply in all that it contains in those 21 verses because it is a real gem amongst the Psalms.