Praying Psalm 63
When David was desperate in the wilderness of Judah he had a choice to make. He could focus on the wilderness and his difficult circumstances or he could meditate on his God and what he knew to be true of God’s character. He chose the latter. As a result, our lives are enriched by having Psalm 63 in our biblical repertoire.
This marvelous song flows out of a commitment to praise God, which was birthed from meditations on God. “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You. So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name” (vv. 3-4). That is his commitment to praise. But the deeper source of his praise is revealed in verse 6: “When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.”
What are some of the truths about God that David chose to meditate on? How does this precious psalm lead us into that same kind of worship? Here are eight truths that jump out from the sacred text. Let them be a starting point for prayer and worship. Say, with David, “O God, You are my God,” and then give to Him particular praise. Here is a suggested way to pray.
You are the God who wants to be thirsted after and who rewards those who seek after You. “I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary” (vv. 1-2a). “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
You are the God of all power and glory. “Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory” (v. 2). “Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone works wonders. And blessed be His glorious name forever; and may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen, and Amen (Ps 72:18-19).
You are the God of lovingkindness (grace), which is better to me than life itself. Because this is true, “My lips will praise You” (v. 3). “I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness, because You have seen my affliction; You have known the troubles of my soul, and You have not given me over into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a large place” (Ps 31:7-8).
You are the God who satisfies my soul. “My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness” (v. 5). “How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house; and You give them to drink of the river of Your delights. For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light” (Ps 36:7-9).
You are my Helper. “You have [already] been my help” (v. 7). “What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your faithfulness? Hear, O LORD, and be gracious to me; O LORD, be my helper” (Ps 30:9-10).
You are my strength, my defense, and my life-support system. “My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me. But those who seek my life to destroy it, will go into the depths of the earth. They will be delivered over to the power of the sword; they will be a prey for foxes” (v. 8). “The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation. The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; the right hand of the LORD does valiantly. The right hand of the LORD is exalted; the right hand of the LORD does valiantly. I will not die, but live, and tell of the works of the LORD” (Ps 118:14-17).
You are the God of truth and justice. “But the king will rejoice in God; everyone who swears by Him will glory, for the mouths of those who speak lies will be stopped” (v. 11). “You have a strong arm; Your hand is mighty, Your right hand is exalted. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; lovingkindness and truth go before You. How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O LORD, they walk in the light of Your countenance” (Ps 89:13-15).
Meditating on God will result in a heart filled with praise for Him, His gracious and faithful character, and His mighty works. Let us bless Him as long as we live and lift up our hand unto His name!
[Originally posted February 13, 2013.]