Accepted Prayer (Psalm 6)

Psalm 6

For the music leader. On stringed instruments. According to the eighth. A psalm of David.

6 Please, Lord,
    don’t punish me when you are angry;
    don’t discipline me when you are furious.
Have mercy on me, Lord,
    because I’m frail.
Heal me, Lord,
    because my bones are shaking in terror!
My whole body is completely terrified!
        But you, Lord! How long will this last?
Come back to me, Lord! Deliver me!
    Save me for the sake of your faithful love!
No one is going to praise you
    when they are dead.
Who gives you thanks
    from the grave?

I’m worn out from groaning.
    Every night, I drench my bed with tears;
    I soak my couch all the way through.
My vision fails because of my grief;
    it’s weak because of all my distress.
Get away from me, all you evildoers,
    because the Lord has heard me crying!
The Lord has listened to my request.
    The Lord accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies will be ashamed
    and completely terrified;
    they will be defeated
    and ashamed instantly (Psalm 6:1-10, Common English Bible)

Though it isn’t possible for them to know, I always find it interesting to see a a story or in this case a psalm that reminds us something in the New Testament, even when there is on obvious connection. When I read Psalm 6, I am reminded of the story of the Pharisee and the Tax collector.

Perhaps you remember the story. If not, let me share it with you direct from Luke’s Gospel.

Jesus told this parable to certain people who had convinced themselves that they were righteous and who looked on everyone else with disgust: 10 “Two people went up to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed about himself with these words, ‘God, I thank you that I’m not like everyone else—crooks, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week. I give a tenth of everything I receive.’ 13 But the tax collector stood at a distance. He wouldn’t even lift his eyes to look toward heaven. Rather, he struck his chest and said, ‘God, show mercy to me, a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this person went down to his home justified rather than the Pharisee. All who lift themselves up will be brought low, and those who make themselves low will be lifted up” (Luke 18:9-14, Common English Bible).

In the beginning Psalm 6, the psalmist says, in essence, I am a sinful man and I seek forgiveness from God though I know I deserve God’s wrath. In the second half of the psalm he gives a vivid description of his repentance. He sounds much like the repentant tax collector Luke talks about. He could easily be the tax collector to whom the Pharisee points.

I can’t say that I have known anyone who thinks they are better in God’s eyes than anyone else, as Luke describes the Pharisee in that story. As I imagine the psalmist praying, those chasing him, persecuting him, to use today’s vernacular, bullying him, stop. He seems to want it stopped even at the use of Divine intervention.

Have I known people who think they are better than the rest of us? Absolutely. Here is the difference I see between them and the Pharisee. Those I know either think they are better than God, they think there is no God, or they just don’t pray. Such was not the case with the Pharisee.

I have known people like the psalmist and the tax collector. I have known people who cry out to God for forgiveness and yet also believe in their heart of hearts that the are useless and there is no way God would possibly forgive them. That heartfelt belief is completely wrong. Just look at all those Jesus forgave. It seems clear to me that if Jesus was to forgive the various people in the Bible the Pharisees called, “Sinners,” Jesus will forgive us.

What is required in the days of the psalmist, the days of the Pharisee and the tax collector is faith. When I see the psalmist, pursued and tired of the pursuit prays to God. Both the Pharisee and the tax collector are praying but the Pharisee’s prayer is about his greatness. The tax collector’s prayer is seeking God to do something that humbles him, repenting and asking forgiveness.

We have the same choice. We can pray and sing our own praises or we can humble ourselves before God, admit that we aren’t quite as great as we want to think and seek forgiveness. Acceptable prayer begins with a heart that is contrite and humble. The psalmist and the tax collector show us how it’s done.

Have a great day in the Lord.

In search of the genuine,
Keith

Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved.

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Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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