Sometimes, life is hard.
We all know this, right? Depending on your personal circumstances, you may have suffered much or comparatively little—but no matter who you are, you’ve gone through stages of life where the deck seemed stacked against you. Disappointment, rejection, failure, persecution… the list goes on.
These experiences aren’t unique to modern life, and so it’s no surprise that in the Bible we find even the great heroes of the faith grappling with life’s challenges. Let’s see how a devoted follower of God—in this case, the famous king David—expresses this inner struggle.
I lift my inner being to you, Adonai;
I trust you, my God.
Don’t let me be disgraced,
don’t let my enemies gloat over me.
No one waiting for you will be disgraced;
disgrace awaits those who break faith for no reason.
Make me know your ways, Adonai,
teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth, and teach me;
for you are the God who saves me,
my hope is in you all day long.
Remember your compassion and grace, Adonai;
for these are ages old.
Don’t remember my youthful sins or transgressions;
but remember me according to your grace
for the sake of your goodness, Adonai.
Adonai is good, and he is fair;
this is why he teaches sinners the way [to live],
leads the humble to do what is right
and teaches the humble [to live] his way.
All Adonai’s paths are grace and truth
to those who keep his covenant and instructions.
For the sake of your name, Adonai,
forgive my wickedness, great though it is.
Who is the person who fears Adonai?
He will teach him the way to choose.
He will remain prosperous,
and his descendants will inherit the land.
Adonai relates intimately with those who fear him;
he makes them know his covenant.
My eyes are always directed toward Adonai,
for he will free my feet from the net.
Turn to me, and show me your favor;
for I am alone and oppressed.
The troubles of my heart are growing and growing;
bring me out of my distress.
See my affliction and suffering,
and take all my sins away.
Consider my enemies, how many there are
and how cruelly they hate me.
Protect me and rescue me;
don’t let me be disgraced,
for I take refuge in you.
Let integrity and uprightness preserve me,
because my hope is in you.
God! Redeem Isra’el
from all their troubles! — Psalm 25 (CJB)
Questions to Consider
- Although this passage begins and ends with a plea for help, much of it is dedicated to simply praising God for His faithfulness and power. Why do you think this is—and do your own prayers for help model this?
- How do you understand the statement that God’s servants will “remain prosperous,” given that the context of this passage is the persecution and abuse of a godly man?
- Notice how many times the author of this psalm states, in various ways, that he trusts God. When you turn to God for help, do you trust Him with the same conviction?
- What have you learned from this prayer that you can incorporate into your own prayer life?