Text: Psalm 119:145-152
Big Idea: God uses our trials to draw us to Himself – in prayer and in His Word – to remind us we need Him, and He is near.
Difficult times are a tool in God’s hands, to reveal to us the insufficiency of our own strength, and the all-sufficiency of Christ. This leads us to the cross. It leads us to a greater trust in God’s Word, and a greater dependency on His grace. So in your weakness keep praying, because God hears. And keep trusting, because God is near.
Because God hears:
1. Pray sincerely. (v. 145)
Before we are told what David prays, we are told how he prays. He prays with his whole heart – with a central focus, with complete sincerity. He’s not going through the motions. He’s not doing a religious work to impress anyone. He is desperate, he is in need, and he is calling out to God with everything he’s got.
As oxygen fills our lungs carrying life to the body, so prayer does for our soul, filling us with fresh affections for God, reminders of His faithfulness, and dependence on Jesus. To pray sincerely is to breathe deeply and be refreshed.
2. Pray scripturally. (v. 146)
These two verses mirror each other. The prayer (I cry, I call), the plea (answer me, save me), and the purpose: David’s prayer is connected to a desire to keep God’s Word, to remember and to obey God’s commands.
We can pray like the psalmist, “Hear me Lord”, and we know God hears our prayers, ultimately because of what Jesus has done. And when we pray “save me Lord”, we know we are saved only by faith in what Jesus has done for us. Jesus is the reason we can pray and be heard. He is the one sitting at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us even now, guaranteeing our prayers are heard. Let Jesus – the Word made flesh – guide our prayers.
3. Pray sacrificially. (vv. 147-49)
I’m not saying the act of prayer earns us God’s love or forgiveness or atone for any sin. Jesus is the one and only sacrifice for our sins. What I mean is this: Pray in a way that causes you forsake other things in order to prioritize spending time in prayer. David says “I rise before dawn and cry for help”. He’s awake before the last watch of the night, which was between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. – the wee hours of the morning. David is saying, “Lord, I’m choosing to seek you, to pray to you, to be in your presence, rather than sleep”. His trial’s urgency made prayer a priority.
This is not to guilt us into praying. Prayer is not a burden to be tolerated, but it is a treasure to be discovered. Don’t wait for desperate times to be desperate in prayer. Because God hears us, nothing we lose, nothing we put aside so that we can pray, will compare to the joy we gain by being in His presence.
Because God is near:
1. Don’t live in fear. (vv. 150-151a)
David is not sugar-coating the situation. He’s in trouble. From a human perspective, he has a reason to be afraid, a reason to panic.  But you are near, O LORD. The enemy is close, but God is closer. It feels like the devil is winning the battle, but I know that Christ has already won the war.
You don’t have to fear the past, because if you have placed your faith in Christ, every sin you have ever committed is paid in full and washed clean by the blood of the Lamb. You don’t have to fear the present, because God has promised He is with you, that He will never leave you nor forsake you. And you don’t have to fear the future, because those whom the Lord has saved, He has promised to keep.
2. Keep trusting in God and His Word (vv. 151b-152)
David isn’t out of the trial yet. The enemy is still closing in. But his comfort and his trust are secure, knowing that the Lord is near. He knows the Lord is going to protect him and provide for him. And how does David know this? Because of the promises of God’s word.
God is walking you through your trial – not to destroy but to strengthen your trust, to strengthen your faith. He is still near. He hasn’t gone anywhere. His commandments are still true. His word hasn’t changed. And even though it might be uncomfortable, and even a little scary, God won’t let you stay isolated and alone. He wants you with other believers. Other people who have scars. Others who know what it is to hurt, but who also know the healing touch of Jesus.
Remember: God is not done with you yet. He has not forgotten you, and He will act. In your weakness keep praying, because God hears. And in your trial, keep trusting, because God is near.