Psalm 20 (April 5, 2011)

[1] May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!  [2] May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion!  [3] May he remember all your offerings and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah  [4] May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!  [5] May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions!  [6] Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand.  [7] Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.  [8] They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.  [9] O LORD, save the king! May he answer us when we call. (Psalm 20 ESV)

Prayer for the Presents

While you might think that prayer for the presents means something we do on Christmas eve, in this Psalm, prayer for the presents involves the people praying for the king that his offerings might be accepted before God, in approval of his upcoming military campaign (3). There are two kinds of sacrifices mentioned: Offerings and burnt sacrifices. The point here is to include everything from small offerings to a whole burnt sacrifice, or that God would answer any prayer the king prayed in the direction of victory.

How would we understand this kind of prayer today? First, we should be mindful of the prayer that the King of Kings prayed for us in John 17, when he prayed:

[6] “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. [7] Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. [8] For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. [9] I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. [10] All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. [11] And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. [12] While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. [13] But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. [14] I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. [15] I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. [16] They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. [17] Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. [18] As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. [19] And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.  [20] “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, [21] that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17:6-21 ESV)

As Jesus offered himself up as a sacrifice for us, he prayed that we would be kept by God and made holy by the word of God and that our lives would bring glory to God. We certainly must affirm that prayer! In addition, we must also pray that prayer for each other. We pray that God will hear the prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ, that they would be faithful, holy and vessels of glory to God. We pray that their worship would be sincere and that their hearts will be always reforming, always pressing on to know the Lord.

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