Guilt. Failure. Weariness.
All these are reasons why we sometimes don’t go to God. Or maybe we do go to God but we do so without expecting much. Or we start our prayers with lists of what we need forgiveness for.
We feel unworthy. Or rather, we know we are unworthy…and we’re just not sure how to get past that. Even when we know Jesus died for our sins… even when we know that His sacrifice is why we can go to God… sometimes it seems that Jesus’ sacrifice bridged the gap for God, but for us, it’s still there and we just don’t know how to get around it.
Perhaps this is why certain phrases keep jumping out at me when I read in the Psalms.
Psalms is my “go to” place when I’m overwhelmed, fearful, happy, unsure, confident, confused, blissful… You name it, and Psalms is a great place to keep (or get) your heart centered on the Awesome One.
And lately, I keep noticing how the psalmists make their requests to God.
Answer me, O Lord, for Your lovingkindness is good; According to the greatness of Your compassion, turn to me.
Hear my prayer, O Lord, Give ear to my supplications! Answer me in Your faithfulness, in Your righteousness!
Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; According to Your lovingkindness remember me, For Your goodness’ sake, O Lord.
And He remembered His covenant for their sake, And relented according to the greatness of His lovingkindness.
Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness; Revive me, O Lord, according to Your ordinances.
Let my supplication come before You; Deliver me according to Your word.
Do you see it?
All of these psalmists know that, in themselves, they have no right to even approach God. Yet they dare anyway, and they ask God to heed their prayers, not because of anything they’ve done or according to their own sacrifices or goodness. They dare to ask things of this great and perfect God of the universe because they know the greatness and perfectness of Him.
But even beyond that… they ask that He hear them and answer them according to His lovingkindness. They ask God to provide His answers to prayer according to the measure of His lovingkindness…which is endless!
This is David, right after Nathan, the prophet, has come to him and his sin of adultery and murder and betrayal is revealed:
Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
Do you dare?
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.
As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
When the wind has passed over it, it is no more,
And its place acknowledges it no longer.
But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children,
To those who keep His covenant
And remember His precepts to do them.