LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief. Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.
God Hears Our Prayers
Ten-year-old Mason was feeling frustrated and a little desperate. The boy had been trying to get his father’s attention during breakfast to explain that he needed a parent to sign a permission slip for school. Today was the class field trip. And although Mason knew he had been misbehaving recently—and was even grounded all last week–he was still hopeful that dad would give him permission to go. Mason pleaded with his father, “Dad, please? I’ve done all my chores this week as Mom asked me to. I promise I’ll behave!” Dad, however, was distracted by an ongoing group text with his boss and a co-worker about an important project they were presenting that day. In his frustration, Mason almost shouted at his father: “Dad, did you hear what I said?!”
Unlike earthly parents, our heavenly Father is never too busy or distracted to hear our cries for help. But still, it so often seems that when we pray there is no answer—or at least, not the answer we hoped for. So how can we convince God to answer our requests for help? Can we, like young Mason, point to the good things we have done or offer promises to improve? Will our good deeds sway a holy God and move him to bless his obedient children? Sadly, no. We must confess with the psalm writer, “No one living is righteous before you.” As one pastor has warned, “Never pray for God to give you only what you deserve—you won’t like the result.”
Rather, listen to how the writer of this psalm appeals to God’s mercy. It is the Lord’s loving-kindness that moves him to rescue us. We have not been faithful to God, but he has kept his promises to us. He forgives us for the sake of his Son, Jesus Christ. So we pray in Jesus’ name, reminding the Lord of the sacrifice he made so that we might become his children.
Lord God, only you can rescue me from the many troubles in my life. I ask you to help me because you are a kind and loving Father and not because I have earned or deserved it. Amen.