Psalm 141: Desperate Prayers

“O LORD, I cry out to you. Come quickly to me!
Pay attention to me when I cry out to you!
May you accept my prayer like incense,
my uplifted hands like the evening offering!”

With a start like that, this psalm sounds as if David’s enemies were in hot pursuit. He probably wrote it while hiding in a cave, starving and clinging to his last hope for salvation, right? Consider the urgency of his plea and all those exclamation marks! But look what comes next:

“O LORD, place a guard on my mouth!
Protect the opening of my lips!
Do not let me have evil desires,
or participate in sinful activities
with men who behave wickedly.
I will not eat their delicacies.
May the godly strike me in love and correct me.”

Psalm 141 isn’t about deliverance from armies of enemies. It’s not about being saved from starvation or physical death. No, it’s a desperate plea for sanctification.

A friend once confided in me about her sin. She said she wanted help to grieve over her sin; she didn’t know how. Instead of mourning her sinful acts or repenting of unrighteous choices, she would simply try harder. She would determine to do better next time. But she felt deep in her heart that she should be more upset.

Don’t we often fall into similar ruts? We become so comfortable with grace and forgiveness that we forget how things really are: we deserve death yet the Son of God took on flesh and died a horrible death to save us from those sins we so easily dismiss … gossip, pride, even little “white” lies we tell our children.

I want to pray like David did. I want to take my sin seriously. I want to be desperate for God. I want to cry out to Him in urgency, ardently seeking the transformation only He can produce in my life.

Talk to me!

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