S64P4 – Just Psalms: the prayer’s motive

Psa. 119:121-124

I have done what is just and right; do not leave me to my oppressors. Give your servant a pledge of good; let not the insolent oppress me. My eyes long for your salvation and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise. Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love, and teach me your statutes.

These kids were relentless, and he could not catch a break.  No matter how hard he tried to be kind to them, he was met with only hatred and disdain.  He did not understand what he had done to deserve this treatment, and he often prayed for God to change things.  In the beginning, his prayers were for deliverance from the situation.  As things progressed, he found himself cursing the other kids and asking God to pour his wrath on them.  He had not noticed that the motivation behind his prayers had changed.  What was once a cry for help and a request for God to deal with him justly had become prayers founded in fear and vengeance.  What he was requesting from the Lord was no longer just and equitable.

The reason behind any prayer is just as important as the request itself. Some ask for money because they have not a cent to carry them through the day.  Others seek riches because they just want as much as they can get.  Whether a prayer for financial blessing is just depends on the motive behind it.  Our requests of God should be founded in his standards of what is right and fair.  David’s request for deliverance from his oppressors comes with a qualifier.  He is only asking that God operate within his promises and his love.  The deliverance he seeks is a just request, and he does not wish to deviate from that standard.  We also should seek only that which remedies our circumstances fairly and sets things right.

There is a helpful question that we can ask to know whether we have the right motivation behind our prayers.  We need only asked whether what we seek would result in a fair outcome.  If we are asking that God change his standards or bend the rules for us, that is not equitable.  If we are asking God to pour curses instead of blessings on our enemies, that is not just.  Our prayers should align with God’s own motivations, and we already know that his throne is founded on justice.  As his children and representatives on Earth, we should pray according to that foundation.  Father, increase in us an awareness of the motivations behind our prayers that we would seek justice and equity according to your standards.