When you think about King David, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Is it his fight with Goliath? Is it his relationship with Saul and Jonathan? Is it Bathsheba? Maybe it’s the phrase “a man after God’s own heart.”
People have a lot of different opinions on what makes David a man after God’s heart. I think if we take a look at the Psalms, many of which are attributed to David, we’ll get a pretty good clue as to what really makes the difference.
Honesty is the Best Policy
If you’re struggling with your prayer life, Psalms is a great book to go to. It’s a collection of 150 poems which are really prayers. And when you take a look at David’s prayers, one thing jumps out pretty quickly: he holds nothing back.
David praises God in good times and bad times, acknowledging His goodness and power in really beautiful language. He pours his entire being into worshipping God. But when he has a problem with God, he makes it known.
David isn’t shy about letting God know when he’s upset. He tells God when he feels abandoned, when he feels that God has let him down and when he feels like his enemies have been given an unfair advantage. Whatever is on his mind, he takes it to God.
If you don’t know what to say when you’re praying, maybe the problem is that you’re holding too much back. Don’t be afraid to let your emotions influence your prayers. Tell God how you’re feeling. Whatever it is, He can handle it.
One word of caution before you rip into God with your negative feelings: don’t forget that He is God and you are not. David uses some pretty strong language when he addresses God, but he always comes back around to humbling himself. His Psalms are full of phrases like “yet will I still praise you” and variations of the same sentiment. Be as angry with God as you like, but remember that He is still the All Powerful Master of the Universe.
Job also uses some pretty strong language with God, accusing Him of punishing Job unfairly. He crosses the line into irreverence and judging God, and God will not stand for that. The final chapters of Job consist of God slapping him back for daring to speak to Him like that. They are some of my favorite chapters in the Bible and a great reminder of who we are addressing when we pray.
Whatever your personality is, let it shine through your prayers. Don’t feel like you have to box yourself into an acceptable prayer format. If anyone can handle you at your most natural, it’s God. He’s the one who created you. So whenever you pray, just be you.