Prayer is Praise Onto God

“Prayer is Praise Onto God”

2 Samuel 7:18-29

Praise God regardless if His answer is yes, no, or wait.

Focus on Who God Is

Praise God for Deeds Done

Focus on Who God Is

2 Samuel 7:18-24, NKJV

18 Then King David went in and sat before the Lord; and he said: “Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far? 19 And yet this was a small thing in Your sight, O Lord God; and You have also spoken of Your servant’s house for a great while to come. Is this the manner of man, O Lord God? 20 Now what more can David say to You? For You, Lord God, know Your servant. 21 For Your word’s sake, and according to Your own heart, You have done all these great things, to make Your servant know them. 22 Therefore You are great, O Lord God. For there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears. 23 And who is like Your people, like Israel, the one nation on the earth whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people, to make for Himself a name—and to do for Yourself great and awesome deeds for Your land—before Your people whom You redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, the nations, and their gods? 24 For You have made Your people Israel Your very own people forever; and You, Lord, have become their God. 

            This portion of Scripture is a prayer of King David in response to being denied the opportunity to build a permanent house for God among the people of Israel. David’s response to being denied something that he desired to do for God was due to the fact he listened to what God said rather than focused on what the Lord did not say. There are some important things God said to David recorded in the verses prior to the above portion of Scripture that were very encouraging.

8 Now therefore, thus shall you say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “I took you from the sheepfold, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people, over Israel. 9 And I have been with you wherever you have gone, and have cut off all your enemies from before you, and have made you a great name, like the name of the great men who are on the earth. 10 Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more; nor shall the sons of wickedness oppress them anymore, as previously, 11 since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel, and have caused you to rest from all your enemies. Also the Lord tells you that He will make you a house.

12 “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. 15 But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.” ’ ” (2 Samuel 7:8-16, NKJV emphasis added)

            David could begin with “Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far?…O Lord God; and You have also spoken of Your servant’s house for a great while to come” (2 Samuel 7:18-19, NKJV). There were promises for David personally and for the nation of Israel specifically. God proclaimed to David that he would rest from his enemies, establish his ancestors as rulers, and the Messiah would come from David’s line. The nation of God’s people was promised to be permanently established and be free from all oppression from other nations.

            Notice throughout this prayer the number of times David refers to God rather than Himself: “You brought me this far…You also spoken of Your servant’s house…You, Lord God, know Your servant…Your words sake…Your own heart, You have done all these great things, to make Your servant know them…who is like Your people…went to redeem for Himself as a people, to make for Himself a name…Your people whom You redeemed for Yourself…Your land…Your people…Your very own people…” Sixteen times David is heard specifically referring to God. How many times do the prayers of those who are of the body of Christ today focus on the Lord in this way?

            David was able to praise God through the denial of his desires because David comprehended all that God had already done for him and the nation of Israel. There were many difficult times David endured up to this point which God had faithfully brought him through. He would have been able to look back over his life to the present and see the benevolence of God’s mercy upon him. These things were acknowledged by David as undeserved mercies he received at God’s hand. All these things combined formed his understanding of prayer to be less about himself and his needs and more about the opportunity to praise God for whom the Lord was, what God had done, and even prevented him from doing.

            This was long before the many failures David would suffer due to his sinful choices. David would certainly suffer consequences for his actions, but the promises of God never changed in spite of all that David did in not following God’s commandments. The promise of God endures time and the failure of God’s people. Acknowledgement of sin and repentance of sin is the attitude David had whenever he was convicted of his sins. God’s faithfulness is displayed through His promises over the years and through all the failures of God’s people as they turn to Him in their despair of sin. Knowing these facts help David to see prayer as God intended it to be.

            Prayer as praise onto God is one of the most important characteristics of prayer for it is to remind ourselves of our dependency upon the power and presence of God in our life. Prayer was never about informing God about the needs of His people or helping God know what ought to be done in His creation. God has much more understanding about what is happening and needs to take place in creation than any person or group of people could possibly comprehend. The purpose of prayer becomes distorted and lost whenever we lose sight of who it is that is being spoken to when we go into prayer.

           There have been many people who say the phrase, “Keep them in our thoughts and prayers” in times of tragedy. The problem with this statement for followers of Christ and atheists alike is who is being prayed to in reference to prayer. Is it a god made in our image or the Creator of the universe that desires to transform people into His image? Prayer is worthless coming from anyone who does not recognize first who God is and who they are in Him. Understanding that God is Master of all and that His children are His property to direct as He sees fit must cause people to recognize their need for obedience.

            Peter was inspired to write this kind of warning to husbands to help them to see the connection of obedience and prayer in this way, “7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7, NKJV emphasis added). This connection can also be seen in the inspired writings of Job, “8 Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.” (Job 42:8. NKJV emphasis added).

            There are numerous examples where God proclaimed He would refuse to listen to the prayers of His people because of their disobedience. Isaiah 1:15-17 is one example of how disobedience hinders the prayers of God’s people,

15 When you spread out your hands,

I will hide My eyes from you;

Even though you make many prayers,

I will not hear.

Your hands are full of blood.

16 “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;

Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.

Cease to do evil,

17 Learn to do good;

Seek justice,

Rebuke the oppressor;

Defend the fatherless,

Plead for the widow. (NKJV)

            Prayer is always distorted whenever God is made in the image of people rather than His people being made into the His image. How God is addressed in times of disobedience is with arrogance, demanding specific outcomes, and anger at God for causing situations to go against what is thought to be best by the one praying. Please understand this has nothing to do with salvation. God’s people did not cease being His people in their disobedience. He could not honor their prayers in the way they were presented to Him since they were outside of His perfect will. Jesus later made this fact abundantly clear saying,

13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son…

16 A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father…

23 And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 14:13, 16:16, 16:23-24, NKJV).         

            True prayer has the element of praise onto God for who He is first and a desire of the one speaking to God to submit to Him as Lord over their entire life. Prayer is ineffective and an exercise in futility if the one praying has forgotten who it is they are praying to because they are unwilling to pray in accordance with the Spirit of God.

Praise God for Deeds Done

2 Samuel 7:25-29, NKJV

25 “Now, O Lord God, the word which You have spoken concerning Your servant and concerning his house, establish it forever and do as You have said. 26 So let Your name be magnified forever, saying, ‘The Lord of hosts is the God over Israel.’ And let the house of Your servant David be established before You. 27 For You, O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, have revealed this to Your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house.’ Therefore Your servant has found it in his heart to pray this prayer to You.

28 “And now, O Lord God, You are God, and Your words are true, and You have promised this goodness to Your servant. 29 Now therefore, let it please You to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue before You forever; for You, O Lord God, have spoken it, and with Your blessing let the house of Your servant be blessed forever.”    

            Prayer consists of praise onto God for who He is but also for all that He has done on the behalf of the one who is coming before God in prayer. Now David is turning his attention to praising God for that which He has done as well as rejoicing over the promises made as though they are already fulfilled. Notice the language here again, “…You have spoken concerning Your servant and concerning his house, establish it forever and do as You have said… let Your name be magnified forever… the house of Your servant David be established before YouYou are God, and Your words are true…O Lord God, have spoken it, and with Your blessing let the house of Your servant be blessed forever.

            David is affirming his belief that what God has stated will happen regardless if he will see it in his lifetime. Speaking to God is unlike speaking to anyone else. He is eternal and His Word is established forever by His perfect and righteous character that has no limitations or constraints that are upon everything that has been created. The writer of Psalm 119 puts it best when he was inspired to write,

89 Forever, O Lord,

Your word is settled in heaven.

90 Your faithfulness endures to all generations;

You established the earth, and it abides.

91 They continue this day according to Your ordinances,

For all are Your servants. (Psalm 119:89-91, NKJV)

            The attitude that David had is confirmed by Christ and encouraged by other inspired writings of the New Testament. Jesus responded to the devil’s temptation of food by quoting from Deuteronomy 8:3, “3 So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord” (NKJV emphasis added). God’s Word is life-giving in a way that physical food is unable to provide for people. Those who eat physical food will eventually die, but those who feast on the Word of God will live even though they die because the Scriptures proclaim Christ as the Son of God (John 11:25-26).

            The Word of God is the firm foundation that life now and eternally must be built upon or what is built will be destroyed. Building on the foundation of God’s Word is to live with calm assurance that all He has said He would do will be done on earth as it is in heaven. This is the beginning of the model prayer Jesus taught His disciples when He instructed them about prayer.

9 In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,

Hallowed be Your name.

10 Your kingdom come.

Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:9-10, NKJV)

            The prayers of God’s people must praise Him for who He is and what He has done no matter if the reality of the promises God has made is being experienced presently. That means the children of God should be rejoicing in the fact of the home that is as sure as the moment they are living in at this time. The promises of God are beyond an individual’s lifespan upon this earth. God’s people must live in the reality of the promises of God rather than in the doubt of it because they are presently experiencing something far less than God said He would do.

            David’s faith in the trustworthiness of God’s promises can be clearly seen when he proclaimed, “…You are God, and Your words are true, and You have promised this goodness to Your servant…” (2 Samuel 7:28, NKJV). Later on whenever David found himself suffering the consequences of his sins it is easy to imagine that David would start doubting the promises of God because of his disobedience and failures. Yet, doubt is the last thing that is heard from David in his last words that are recorded in 2 Samuel 23:1-5,

1 Now these are the last words of David.

Thus says David the son of Jesse;

Thus says the man raised up on high,

The anointed of the God of Jacob,

And the sweet psalmist of Israel:

2 “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me,

And His word was on my tongue.

3 The God of Israel said,

The Rock of Israel spoke to me:

‘He who rules over men must be just,

Ruling in the fear of God.

4 And he shall be like the light of the morning when the sun rises,

A morning without clouds,

Like the tender grass springing out of the earth,

By clear shining after rain.’

5 “Although my house is not so with God,

Yet He has made with me an everlasting covenant,

Ordered in all things and secure.

For this is all my salvation and all my desire;

Will He not make it increase? (NKJV)

            David realized that he had failed to follow God’s commandments personally and his family was suffering the consequences of his sins. However there was nothing that indicated to him that this in anyway voided the promises that God had made to him years earlier. This was affirmed in David’s willingness to accept the conviction of God and to repent of his sins each time he fell.

            David’s prayer life suffered severely during his times of entertaining sin as was evident when he was inspired to write,

3 When I kept silent, my bones grew old

Through my groaning all the day long.

4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;

My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah

5 I acknowledged my sin to You,

And my iniquity I have not hidden.

I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”

And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah (Psalm 32:3-5, NKJV)

            There was no concern of David as the end of his life on earth approached that God might not fulfill that which was promised. The assurance of God’s promises allowed David to praise God in prayer while acknowledging the fact of the dysfunction of his family and the failures of his life. God has certainly blessed the house of David through the Messiah of God who even now resides on the thrown eternally. Jesus is the Son of God, who is also of the line of David’s royal family because of God’s promises that were made to David centuries ago.

            Apostle Paul expresses best as God has inspired him to record it concerning why prayer is praise for what God has accomplished when he said, “19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19-22, NKJV).

            Prayer is praise onto God because there is no need to tell God what needs to be done or even what is taking place currently as if He is unaware of it. Prayer is meant to help His children grasp the proper perspective of everything that is taking place in this sin fallen, broken world that is experienced presently. Once God’s people begin to grasp that one of the most important aspects of prayer is to correct the focus of God’s people, praise will consume much of what is said in times of speaking with the Lord.

            How much of your prayer time is taken up in praising the Lord who alone is worthy of praise?

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