Praying before the battle
Psalm 20 (NIV)
1 For the director of music. A psalm of David.
May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
2 May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion
3 May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings. Selah
4 May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. 5 We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the LORD grant all your requests.
6 Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he answers him from his holy heaven with the saving power 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 are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.
9 O LORD, save the king! Answer us when we call!
Psalm 20 – Praying before the battle
(Verses 1-5) God gives David, Israel’s king and general, the prayer of Psalm 20 for the Temple’s music director to sing before an upcoming battle. In Old Testament times nations often fought each other. Israel needs to conquer the ungodly nations around them and exclude their often evil and ungodly influence. Israel, its army, and its king must walk closely with the God they serve. It is a comfort to pray before a battle. We have different kinds of battles in our lives to fight: we need to pray, too. David’s prayers include the following requests:
God is asked to answer, even in distress;
God’s help and support;
God to accept their sacrifices and burnt offerings;
and success to achieve their desires and plans as they seek to please God.
David promises to shout for God joyfully when He gives them victory and to lift up their banners in God’s name, to make it clear they are on God’s side. Finally, he asks God to grant all these prayers made in His name. We can pray similarly as we battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil and in the trials, temptations and battles we all face.
Look at David’s prayers. Why not adapt them for yourself? We do not offer God the same Old Testament sacrifices and burnt offerings. But we have a much better one, in fact, a perfect one to offer, confident of God’s acceptance. It is the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ that He made in dying for us on the cross, when He bore our sins and judgment. God showed He accepted that sacrifice, by raising Jesus from the dead, to live forevermore! Romans 12:1-2 tell us how to present our bodies as living sacrifices to serve and please the LORD.
(Verse 6) David knows that God saves him. He answers his godly prayers by His mighty right hand. You can know Jesus as your mighty Saviour, too! Receive Him in your heart as your Saviour and Lord.
(Verses 7-9) Compare vainly trusting in military might to save Israel, with trusting their almighty LORD God. He enables them to ‘rise up and stand firm.’ Through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, the blessing that comes from daily reading and relying on the Bible, and regular fellowship in a Bible-based church or group, God causes us to ‘rise up and stand firm’ too, each day. He is there to save you and answer you when you call on Him. He will help, bless, keep, strengthen, and use you. He loves you!