In Psalm 27:7, David pleads with God to answer him. But what is significant to recognize is that he does not base his request on himself, but on God’s grace and mercy: “Be gracious to me and answer me!” This serves as a very important reminder to us. God roots His answers to our prayers, not in us, but in Himself and His own character, ultimately. Paul Tripp writes of this in his wonderful devotional through Psalm 27, A Shelter in the Time of Storm. Below are five reasons Tripp encourages us to mediate on.
God’s love. He’s the ultimate wise, patient, kind, gentle, and forgiving father. He delights in his children. Because of his great love, his eyes look out for us and his ears are always attentive to our cries. Because of his love, he invites us to bring our cares to him, and he assures us that he really does care for us. He is never too busy or distracted or too tired to hear and answer. He doesn’t refuse to answer because of our weakness and failure. He doesn’t get impatient because we have to come again and again. He is love, and he loves to exercise his power and glory to meet the needs of his struggling children.
God’s grace. Grace provides the whole structure and standing of our relationship with him. If it weren’t for the grandeur of his forgiving grace, we would have no relationship with him at all. Because of his grace, he is unwilling to rest until the work of transformation is complete. In grace he looks on us and knows that this work isn’t done. We’ve not yet been completely formed into the likeness of his Son. Although the power of sin has been broken, he knows that the presence of sin still remains. He hears our prayers because, when we pray, we confess that we still need the grace of forgiveness and deliverance, and in so doing we place ourselves in the center of what he has committed himself to complete—his work of redemption.
God’s faithfulness. He doesn’t change his mind. He doesn’t ride the roller-coaster of the rise and fall of emotions. His heart isn’t a battle zone of conflicting motivations. He doesn’t get bored, exhausted, or distracted. He won’t quit what he has begun. He won’t forsake those upon whom he has placed his love. He won’t harden his heart, shut down his mind, and turn his back. He won’t take a break or go to sleep. He will never tell you that you have asked too much or that you have come to him too often. You never have to work to figure him out. You never have to wonder if his response to you will change. He is absolutely faithful to every promise he has made and every provision he has offered. Your hope in prayer is rooted in his faithfulness, not yours.
God’s kingdom. As I come to him in the patterns laid out by Christ and pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” I pray words that bring him delight. He loves the exercise of his will. He finds joy in the success of his kingdom. The spiritual growth and prosperity of his children means the growth and prosperity of his kingdom. He is King, and he delights in his children’s recognizing his lordship and submitting to his rule. Every good thing he does for his children is done to rescue them from their self-focused kingdom of one and to welcome them into the expansiveness of his kingdom of glory and grace. And his ears will continue to be attentive and his hands will be active until his kingdom has been fully and completely established forever.
God’s glory. The thing that God is most committed to is his own glory. But here’s what you need to understand. His commitment to his own glory is your only hope. Because he is committed to his own glory, he has committed to draw to himself a multitude of people who forsake their own glory and do the one thing that they were created to do: live for his. So his commitment to his glory causes him to listen and respond, listen and respond until all of his children no longer look to the shadow glories of creation for their satisfaction but, rather, look to him. Because he is committed to his glory, I can go to him in prayer, knowing that he will hear and answer.
Don’t give up crying out to God with the needs and desires of your heart. If you know God through faith in Christ, then His mercy continues to be extended to you. He will answer you in His time because of His love, grace, faithfulness, kingdom, and glory.
A Shelter in the Time of Storm has deeply ministered to my heart, helping me to see what God sees there and the sufficiency of Christ to not only be my Savior, but also my Sanctifier and my Rest.