Sometimes as we pray, it seems that God is slow in answering. Or that perhaps he’s just ignoring us. We see this here in this psalm. David cries out,
To you I call, O LORD my Rock; do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who have gone down to the pit. Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place. (1-2)
What exactly his situation was, we are not sure, but how often do we pray as David did?
“Lord, are you hearing me? Why are you silent? Please listen to me. Don’t you see me calling to you?”
He then pleads for God’s justice in his life.
Do not drag me away with the wicked, with those who do evil, who speak cordially with their neighbors but harbor malice in their hearts. Repay them for their deeds and for their evil work; repay them for what their hands have done and bring back upon them what they deserve. (3-4)
A lot of times in the Psalms, we see David asking for God’s punishment on his enemies, and we wonder how this fits in with the idea of loving our enemies. I think there are a couple of things to keep in mind here.
First, though David sometimes prayed against his enemies, he always left justice in the hands of God. He never took it into his own. Rather, in his life, he consistently showed a heart of compassion and mercy toward his enemies. You see this in his treatment of both Saul and Absalom.
Second, though God certainly understands our cries against those who hurt us, it touches his heart more to see us pray for them.
Having poured out his heart to God, however, we see the joy flooding back into David’s heart. Why? Because he knew God had heard him, and that he would answer.
Praise be to the LORD, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one. (6-8)
He then does what we should all do in our times of prayer. He turns it from praying solely for himself, to praying for the people he cared for, in this case, the nation he was ruling. And he prayed,
Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever. (9)
We would do well to remember that though we may be hurting, there are many people around us who are hurting too. So let us pray not just for ourselves, but for the people around us. And let us reach out with God’s hand of mercy to touch them as God has touched us.