"Amen and Amen" is the theme for this study of Psalm 119, as we look at one of the great prayers uttered by the psalmist. "Let each one who sits in council and in committee meetings write in his heart the words: I am working for time and for eternity. I must give an account to God for all the motives which prompt me to action. Let this be his motto. Let the prayer of the psalmist go up to God, 'Set a watch, 0 Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties.'" - EGW., Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 418.
The RSV of the Bible says, "The Lord is my portion," while the KJV says, "Thou art my portion." Today's English Version translates it, "You are all I want, Lord." As the psalmist talked to God, recognizing that he belonged to God and that God was committed to him, he was spiritually enriched and felt better about himself.
III. PRAYER AND SINCERITY
"I entreated thy favour with my whole heart (v. 58a). Today's English Version translates it, "I ask you with all my heart; have mercy on me." Faith and sincerity are essential if we would pray effectively.
IV. PRAYER AND GOD'S PROMISES
"Be merciful unto me according to thy word" (v. 58b).
The RSV translates it, "Be gracious to me according to thy promise." The psalmist was in the habit of claiming the promises of God when he prayed. This is a habit that we should form.
V. PRAYER AND REPENTANCE (v.59).
Repentance is not just the beginning point of the life of faith. The life of faith is to be characterized by continuous repentance. The psalmist says: "I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies" (KJV). The NIV translates this, "I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes." A French translator puts it this way: "I have pondered over my ways and returned to your will."
When we pray, we are to search our hearts and let God help us so that we might turn from evil.
VI. PRAYER AND PRAISE TO GOD (v. 62).
Most of us think of thanking God and praising Him when prosperity comes. Some of us think of praising and thanking Him when we go to church. In this verse the psalmist tells us that midnight is a good time to arise and give thanks to the Lord because of all of His righteous judgments.
The psalmist suggests that when we have difficulty getting to sleep, it might be wise to thank God for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us and praise Him for His goodness to us. This might help us to relax and get a better night's sleep.
VII. PRAYERAND THE RECOGNITION OFGOD'SLOVE
The psalmist was rejoicing over the fact that God's love was a never-failing, never-ending love. This is a truth that all of us need to recognize and respond to positively.
The closing line in this stanza of this poem closes with words of petition:" Teach me thy statutes."
To these prayers of the psalmist, let each of us say, "Amen and Amen."
Have you ever watched a bird sleeping on its perch and never falling off? How does it manage to do this?
The secret is the tendons of the bird's legs. They are so constructed that when the leg is bent at the knee, the claws contract and grip like a steel trap.
The claws refuse to let go until the knees are unbent again. The bended knee gives the bird the ability to hold on to his perch tightly.
From sleeping birds we can learn the secret of holding things which are most precious to us - honest, purity, thoughtfulness, honor, character. That secret is the knee bent in prayer, seeking to get a firmer grip on those values which make life worth living. When we hold firmly to God in prayer, we can rest assured He will hold tightly to us.
Samuel Petrora from Madagascar.