Hi, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray with Me.”
Psalm 1 and 2 were an introduction to the Psalms. Psalm 3 was the first prayer — David’s prayer of loss and desperation when Absalom betrayed him. Our prayers often start in that same place of loss and desperation. But now Psalms 4 and 5 will introduce another type of prayer — prayers that are not emergency 911 calls to God, but prayers said in the regular rhythm of our lives in good times and bad.
The first rhythm the psalmist introduces is evening and morning. Psalm 4 is an evening prayer and Psalm 5 is a morning prayer. The heart of the evening prayer is to leave the finished and unfinished business of our day with God, to tell him our successes and failures, to entrust our friends and enemies to him. Then we release ourselves to the forgetfulness of sleep, knowing that God will not forget us. This is Psalm 4, our prayer today.
Let’s pray it.
“Answer me when I call to you
my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress,
have mercy on me and hear my prayer.”
Our Father, we bring to you the things that distressed us today — news of natural and political disasters, family breakups, problems with health and employment and relationships. We ask for a night of relief from our distress. Grant us peace.
“How long will you people turn my glory into shame?
How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?
Know that the Lord has set apart his servants for himself
the Lord hears when I call to him.”
Our enemies turn our glory into shame. They despise our faith, they belittle our prayers, they disparage our good works, they find fault with our view of God. But we are your people, Lord. Thank you that you honor us as servants and listen to our prayers.
“In your anger do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.
Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
and trust in the Lord.”
Our anger flared up again today, but now at day’s end we search our hearts and we are silent before you. You know us, for we are your people. We know you, for you are our God. We trust you with our heart and mind and soul.
“Many are asking, “Who will show us any good?”
Let the light of your face shine on us.
You have filled my heart with greater joy
than when their grain and new wine abound.”
We circle back to that age-old problem, “Who will show us any good?” What is good, and how can we know it? What is the good life, and how can we live it? Our answer is, “We know goodness when you smile at us, God. We feel goodness in the light of your presence. We experience goodness when you fill our hearts with joy.”
“In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety.”
Our day, our life is in your hands. In your care, we give ourselves gladly and joyfully to sleep.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.