I love the way David wraps his request in praise in this Psalm. Being the political and military leader of a nation would have been no easy thing. Constantly under pressure from his own people and also the surrounding nations it is deeply encouraging to hear this Godly leader’s opening in prayer: (108:1)
My heart, O God, is steadfast;
I will sing and make music with all my soul.
and being so willing to burst into praise:
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.
3 I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
4 For great is your love, higher than the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.
What a beautiful waking thought to have. We would think that David has gotten out of the right side of the bed! It is then with this attitude that he kneels before God: (108:6)
Save us and help us with your right hand,
that those you love may be delivered.
However as we read on we realize that this is more than just the daily prayer of faithful believer… (108:10-11)
Who will bring me to the fortified city?
Who will lead me to Edom?
11 Is it not you, God, you who have rejected us
and no longer go out with our armies?
Attitude check here David! When has God ever rejected his people? But perhaps that is a little unfair on God’s chosen king. For David knows that it is God who wins the battles, not human strength (108:12-13).
David’s praise sandwich shows that God’s praise is what is most important and most worthy of our prayers. I know that often when I am in turmoil my prayers are backwards: “God help me…. oh, and thanks for all that you’ve done, but please God help me…” The same can also be said of the way I sometimes speak with people. I get the whole conversation off on the wrong foot by beginning with a correction, suggestion or criticism rather than praise and encouragement. A counselor once told me that sometimes we have to work really hard to find something that is praiseworthy of a particular situation or person, but by making this a priority God will often soften our heart and bring an attitude check on the situation.
May we be people of praise. First of God, and also of each other.