But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me. Deliver me from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs. Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen.
When we read through David’s many prayers, they can seem rather redundant. Yes, we all will experience certain trials in life that repeat themselves. Perhaps prayers of financial provision are a constant. Maybe one must endure social persecution time and again. This portion of David’s prayer calls out again the things that stand against him. We are familiar with the dogs and the lions. Other prayers of his also speak of his life coming to an end at the blade of the sword. Even with this repetition that seems to be a focus on the negative, a focus on the problem, there is a nugget of clarity in there. David’s posture is not one of a complainer who cannot stop whining about all of his enemies and all of his fears. David comes as one who is reminding God and himself of what he believes.
It might seem like common sense, but David has gone to God because he cannot survive on his own strength. He confesses that the Lord is his strength, and this is one of the many confessions of his belief despite his circumstances. The question is one of what we decide to say after the word “but.” We can say that God is great and awesome, but there is this large mountain to move. Or, we can say that there is this large mountain to move, but God is great and awesome. David is acknowledging that which threatens him, but he is relying on the one who saves. His confession of God being his strength serves to nullify those threats. The world has come after him, but God is near him. He is not strong enough to fight off his enemies, but God will be his strength.
Reminding ourselves of our beliefs when we pray is like confirming that we still believe. No matter what comes up against us, there is always a “but.” The fire might it hot, but our God will provide the relief. Our enemies might be legion, but our God will give us strength. Temptation might come up against us in the most unbearable fashion, but our God always provides a way out from under it. Our prayers to God should never speak of our need without speaking of our confidence in what we know to be true of him. Let our confidence in our faith not be implied but be explicit through our confession in prayer. Father, remind us that every prayer is our opportunity to tell You that we still believe in everything we know to be true of You.