Acts • Devotion #3: Psalm 86
Max Sinclair | Young Adults and Guest Services Director
Prayer has always been something to me with which I have had trouble. I can remember saying my prayers before bed as a young child, and before meals. I recall my mom saying that I was her little prayer warrior and that I would talk to God as if I was talking to a friend. As this became a routine in my life, it lost its meaning and importance; it just became a thing that I did. While this became a more distant thing, so did my relationship with God. Instead of this intensely personal relationship, it felt more like an obligation, this nagging thing that I had to do instead of me wanting to do it. Because of that outlook, I began to feel my relationship with the Lord evaporate to nothing. I can say with some certainty that at points in my life I looked down on people who were praying because why would the God of the universe have any inclination to hear my wants, desires, pains, and problems? Is He not busy with other issues in the world? This mindset caused me to doubt my relationship to Him and cemented my distance from Him. In this time, I became a wreck of depression, anxiety, anger, and selfish. I drew ever closer to myself, and because of that I saw nothing but darkness and anger, and I did not know how I was going to get out; I thought there was no escape for me.
My story continues to the point where I contemplated suicide and even tried to do so. I saw no end to my suffering and my distance from God. At that moment, while laying on the bathroom floor of my barracks room, I cried out. I cried out in prayer for God to restore my heart, to help rebuild the broken relationship we once had. It was as if He picked me up and restored my soul. I felt that kindle of a great passion in my soul, I heard His voice, I saw His glory, and I felt His presence.
I am still trying to restore that relationship since that day three years ago. It is not something that was healed instantly, it was difficult, and from time to time I still feel unworthy to come before the Lord’s throne. Recently, while studying for this devotion, I found a Psalm by David that is also a prayer and it something of a wake-up call for me. Psalm 86 says,
“Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am godly;
save your servant, who trusts in you – you are my God.
Be gracious to me, O Lord,
for to you do I cry all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
listen to my plea for grace.
In the day of my trouble I call upon you,
for you answer me.
There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come.
and worship before you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.
For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God.
Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name.
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.”
This prayer has been my rock that I cling to when all else seems dark, and the storms of life prove to be never-ceasing. In this, the truth of our sinfulness is revealed, and still, God loves us and calls for us to come before Him, to let our requests be known to Him. When we enter His presence with prayer, God does not see our sinful nature, but according to Ephesians 1:4 He sees us pure,“…that we should be holy and blameless before him.”
God does not want perfect people to come and say fancy words to tickle His ears; He wants broken people who put their faith entirely in Christ.