All who have studied the Psalms must have noticed many prayers therein which God’s children would do well to make their own for perpetual personal use. From these I select seven as being vitally important for every believer.
“Hold up my goings in Thy paths that my footsteps slip not” (Psalm. 17:5).
Beset with snares and pitfalls, how easily does the foot slip. How quickly do our “goings” stray from “His paths” when one leaves the protecting atmosphere of private prayer! Let us set these words in order before our mind’s eye, having them ever ready at hand. For only as His Word abideth in us shall we be able to stand in this evil day. “Lord, keep me in Thy paths.”
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.”( Psalm 19:14)
The last verse of Psalm 19 provides this second petition, which centers around our “words” and “meditations,” and voices the desire of those to whom Christ is precious. What we say being largely the fruit of what we think, how necessary that the “inner self” should be pleasing to Him. Only thus will the outward expression (speech) be worthy of those called to be saints of the living God.
“Show me Thy ways, O Lord; teach me Thy paths” (Psalm. 25:4).
Though knowing something of God’s thoughts about things, we are very apt to turn to our own point of view. We must come back to be shown “His ways” - how He is acting and will act in regard to all the perplexing problems around - and taught afresh “His paths,” so that grasping his purpose, seeing clearly the ultimate issue, we may walk steadily and confidently on in “the good way” He would have us tread.
“O, Lord, open Thou my lips; and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise” (Psalm. 51:15).
Not only on public occasions, but in private life, this is essential - lips opened by the Lord. If He but touch the lips they shall move to speak His praise, and tell of all His wondrous works.
“Open Thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law” (Psalm. 119:18).
Every time we read the Bible, whenever we ponder its precious page, we need the Holy Spirit (the Divine Author) to give us a vision of Christ, taking of His things and showing them unto us.
“Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken Thou me in Thy way” (Psalm. 119:37).
Met at every turn by this world’s glitter and glamour, how necessary to have our gaze taken from things seen (temporal and transient) and fastened more firmly upon the (at present) unseen and eternal.
“Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.”
The seventh in Psalm 141:3 is perhaps the most needed prayer of all. The hasty word, the unguarded utterance, the foolish expression - how easily spoken! If one so meek as Moses spoke unadvisedly with his lips, how necessary is it for every Christian to exercise greater watchfulness in this direction! Daily, hourly, should the words be taken up and used, or the tongue (that small but unruly member) will certainly cause us to stumble.
Let us go over these seven petitions again. They all have to do with the everyday of life: we cannot dispense with one. Let us frequently utter them not only when the need is apparent and pressing, but even before the first sign of danger. “Calm seas have their danger” is a truth often overlooked, and the only safe course is to cultivate the habit of “praying always.”