May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
May he send you help from the sanctuary
and give you support from Zion!
May he remember all your offerings
and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah
As I was going through these verses from Psalm 20, I asked myself, is it prudent for us to declare this, or ask this from the Lord for ourselves here and now? Or do we live, knowing that through Christ’s finished work, these petitions have been addressed from an eternal point of view?
One thing I learned from Andrew Farley is to consider the answer to this set of questions, is most likely, ‘Yes’.
Yes, we can pray to the Lord, real-time, for Him to answer us, on behalf of ourselves or for those who would run to us for prayer, in our day of trouble. Oftentimes, we discover that days are with their trouble only after the fact; And even when we anticipate some sort of danger, it almost never plays out precisely the way we predict it to unfold. In our limited minds, and in our limited perspectives, yes, we pray, before, during, and after circumstances happen – May the Lord answer us indeed, in our day of trouble.
But on the other hand, we give thanks to God, for through Christ and His finished work, He took the trouble of troubles – which, I’m imagining, is hopeless separation of creation from its Creator, resulting in death and oblivion – in our behalf. By His sacrifice, He took our sin and died. By His resurrection, we have proof of His infinite superiority over sin, and we have proof of our righteousness, leading to reconciliation, resulting in life eternal. The Lord HAS answered us in our day of trouble.
If we follow this pattern, we could also say that because we have been reconciled to God, and the God of Jacob, we have been brought under the shadow of His wings; We have been brought to safety in His arms… and, more importantly, we dwell under, and within His name – His name, which is a strong tower. Christ has made us righteous, therefore we are able to run under His banner, and not only are we protected – friends, we are saved.
Do we, therefore, refrain from praying for protection for ourselves and others? I don’t think so. In fact, I think it’s actually because we know that Christ has guaranteed our protection from the worst that can possibly happen, that we are more motivated to pray when we are led by the Spirit to pray – protection for ourselves, for our families, and for everyone else.
And this is certainly the motivation for us to pray for the help and the support of our Heavenly Father. Because, through Christ, we ourselves have been helped, and we ourselves have been made witness to the grand and great support our Father can pour out upon us – topped off by the miracle of miracles, the blessing of blessings – that is, Christ’s death and resurrection: Yes, we can pray for ourselves, and others, in real-time.
And who knows? When we call out to the Lord on behalf of our friends who have yet to see and believe, when they eventually see exactly how God can answer us, protect us, help us, and support us, the collective goodness of God would bring them to repentance, and changing their mind about who God is from the viewpoint of Christ’s finished work. Or, even better – perhaps they would also take the time to cry out, lifting sacrifices and offerings in the form of their prayers and supplications.
All this is telling me, that when we pray as a response to what happens to us, we would eventually be led to recognize how Christ has addressed it from an eternal perspective… and vice versa. The more we meditate on the finished work of Christ, I believe we’d be more inclined to pray.
And, apparently, we aren’t done yet. The rest of the Psalm continues from verse 4:
May he grant you your heart’s desire
and fulfill all your plans!
May we shout for joy over your salvation,
and in the name of our God set up our banners!
May the LORD fulfill all your petitions!
Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven
with the saving might of his right hand.
I could keep on going through each verse and say that Christ’s finished work is the ultimate desire of our hearts and the collective fulfillment of our plans. But this shouldn’t stop us – in fact, it ought to motivate us further to desire, and to plan… in appreciation of what Christ has done. We present our petitions, knowing that Christ has addressed the petition of petitions – the highest petition we could ever ask of God, in the form of reconciliation between creation and Creator, the finite to the infinite.
And as a response we shouldn’t be surprised if we would shout for joy, over just how much we have been saved by Christ – As I mentioned earlier, the Lord of Lords has demonstrated His power, influence and authority by way of taking the sum of our fears, in order for us to be brought – all of our beings – into life, and life everlasting. We’d shout for joy, we set up our banners, and I wouldn’t be surprised if our proclamations would all sound the same: That, indeed, the Lord saves those Christ has anointed with His righteousness; He has answered from heaven, by way of pouring out His Spirit, sealing us now and forever. Forgive me, because I’m imagining that’s one way we’ve been saved by God’s mighty right hand; but then again, it isn’t too far off, isn’t it? Because the right hand is precisely where Christ has been seated after His ascension.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
They collapse and fall,
but we rise and stand upright.
O LORD, save the king!
May he answer us when we call.
Friends, I suppose, after today’s Psalm I have this to share – are our prayers and petitions an act demonstrating our lack of faith? I don’t think so. In fact, I’m led to believe that if we do lack the faith, it is as James would advise – that’s precisely when we should ask for it. In our prayers, we allow faith to arise… and in times when our faith is more apparent to us than usual, do not be surprised if you are led to pray.
Until the next post, God bless you.