Ever had a day where your life has seemed crushed into the ground and your spirit overwhelmed? A day in which your strength just fails you and you become deeply dismayed, losing every glimmer of hope. What would be your motivation to escape such a day? What would be the over-arching desire in the process of reversing the tide of tribulation?
David, the psalmist, was experiencing “one of those” days. Psalm 143 is a prayer for deliverance. He passionately begins by pleading to God for an answer to his prayer and relying on the very character of God to move on his behalf. He focuses on God’s mercy. He laments his situation and circumstance, describing the hideous effects of the enemy. He is emotionally spent. In the very midst of these dark hours he thinks back to how God has worked in the past. This motivates his passion in prayer. He prays for specific and timely intervention from God on his behalf. He speaks to God’s mercy, guidance and refuge. He submits to God’s will and pleads for stability.
And then he gets to his motivation for relief: (v.12) “For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life“. For God’s glory. “God, so that people know the truth of who You are…move on my behalf”. It is a prayer of release and relief, but motivated not merely from selfish gain – but Divine recognition.
When we reach our darkest hours it is the most difficult to see beyond ourselves. Trials and difficulties, pain and suffering, make us selfish. It is not wrong to pray that God would take the affliction away. May we be motivated, as Paul the Apostle was – as he prayed for deliverance and received a negative answer – to only see Christ glorified in our lives and total dependence on Him: And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.