1 (A Psalm of David.)
Yahweh, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee.
2 Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
It is a daily obligation: a daily benefit--a pleasure to God and an advantage to His people. I have known men argue against its necessity. They say, "God knows, without being told" This is true, but is not a good reason for the neglect of prayer, in view of the great help it is to us in gendering the habit of expansion of mind towards God, in view of the pleasure it affords to God, and in view of its inculcation by this Mosaic lesson.
It is altogether a benighted and beggarly view of the subject that would leave everything to God: He requires us to do our part with Him. And part of our duty is to express our appreciation of His greatness and goodness and our gratitude for His benefactions, and our desires for His guidance in all our ways. The man who says,
"God does not require me to tell Him all that: He knows all about it: He will look after me without my troubling myself"
--is like a hog, lying in its mire, grunting in its passive satisfaction, as the owner looks over the wall of its sty. Such a man is no pleasure to God, and will pass away with the natural permutation of things. "The Lord taketh not pleasure in fools." "He taketh pleasure in the righteous." "The prayer of the righteous is his delight."
All these things are testified; and it was shown in unmistakable parable when the high priest every morning put sweet-smelling incense in his censer on the fire taken from the altar, and waved his censer before the Lord in the holy place. An enlightened man will therefore be found obeying the apostolic precepts which enjoin prayer without ceasing, and in every thing, thanksgiving. After Christ's own example, he will "give thanks" before partaking of meals; and like Daniel, bend his knee more than once a day,
"coming boldly to the throne of grace, that he may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:16).
3 Set a watch, O Yahweh, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.
4 Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties.
5 Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities.
6 When their judges are overthrown in stony places, they shall hear my words; for they are sweet.
7 Our bones are scattered at the grave's mouth, as when one cutteth and cleaveth wood upon the earth.
8 But mine eyes are unto thee, O Yahweh the Adonai: in thee is my trust; leave not my soul destitute.
9 Keep me from the snares which they have laid for me, and the gins of the workers of iniquity.
10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets, whilst that I withal escape.