Prayer Makes Us Like God’s Own Heart

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

As this is Wednesday night and our focus is “Prayer Meeting”, I have taken to giving a devotional that focuses on Biblical Prayers. Tonight we are looking at a prayer of David found in Psalm 16. God said of David:

Acts 13:22 (ESV) … I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.

Why did God call David a man after my heart? Was it because David was flawless? No, for David as King allowed sin to entice him into evil. Everyone knows of David’s murdering of Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12:9-10), so that he could take Bathsheba to be his wife. David already had a wife, King Saul’s younger daughter Michal (1 Samuel 18:20-27), when he pursued Bathsheba. While David was a fugitive, running from King Saul, he married Abigail (1 Samuel 25:39-41), the widow of a surly shepherd named Nabal. David also “took Ahinoam of Jezreel” (1 Samuel 25:43) to be his wife. David also married “Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur, the mother of Absalom” as well as “Haggith”, the mother of Adonijah (1 Chronicles 3:2). To say that David had a “complicated” family life is an understatement!

David was flawed, but David pursued God in prayer. God was the true Love of His life.

Is God The True Love Of Your Life?

Psalm 16:1-2 Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust. 2 O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee;

Of all the relationships David pursued, he pursued God most of all. David had a deep, personal relationship with God. David saw our God as the true Source of all goodness.

God is indeed the Source of all that is good. The Bible tells us that at the end of the sixth day of creation:

Genesis 1:31 … God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

God is the Source of goodness. God made everything very good. It is humans that make things less than good or bad. The stepbrother of Jesus writes:

James 1:13-17Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16 Do not err, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

God is good. He is the Source of Good. Temptation is a desire to do evil. Temptation does not come from God.

God tries our faith, allowing hard things in our lives to grow us to be closer to Him. But God never, never brings temptation to evil.

God is incapable of tempting us to evil – this is what that old serpent, the Devil (Revelation 12:9; 20:2; Genesis 3:1-2) does. He and his minions whisper lies and deception into our hearts through outside sources, tempting our hearts to turn away from God. As David started his prayer, he prayed:

Psalm 16:1 Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.

Word Study: The word translated Preserve is the Hebrewשָׁמַר shâmar, [pronounced shaw-mar’], which means “to take charge of, to guard, to watch and protect, to restrain or keep me from, to put a hedge or a fence around”. David is asking God to do what Adam did not do. The Bible says:

Genesis 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep (shâmar) it

Had Adam guarded the Garden, and chased the snake off of it, we would not be in the sinful mess we are in today. David asks God to guard his soul, to keep him – flawed as he is – from going off the rails of righteousness. David tells our Father God:

vs 1 for in Thee do I put my trust

David has “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). He does not trust in his strength or in his abilities, but casts all his hope upon God his Savior. David prays:

Psalm 16:2 … O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee;

David prays unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord. As he prays, he is utterly surrendered unto God. David first says,


The ancient worshipers of other gods did not believe that their god personally cared about their lives. The God of Israel – the God we serve – was very relational. From the Garden of Eden to where the Lord walked with Adam “in the cool of the day” (Genesis 3:8), to God’s personal contact with Abram, the father of faith (Genesis 12:1-3), we see our God wants to have a personal relationship with His creation. This was not so in pagan religions. In his book “Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament” by John H. Walton, he writes (page 145):

In a well known Assyrian prayer entitled A Prayer To Every God, the worshiper is seeking to appease a deity from anger over an offense that the worshiper has presumably committed. {In this prayer, the worshiper} does not know which god is angry, and he does not know of anything he has done wrong. … {he prays hopelessly} “Although I am constantly looking for help, no one takes me by the hand; when I weep, they {the gods} do not come to my side. I utter laments, but no one hears me; I am troubled, I am overwhelmed: I cannot see. Man is dumb, he knows nothing … Whether he is committing sin or doing good, he does not even know ..”

This is very different from the God of the Scripture. Our God is the Source of all good. But our God shares what is sinful, and what is right with us as His creation. We know what is right and wrong, what is light and darkness. We are called to follow our God in the Light, in the revealed truth that He has given us in His Word. David prays:

Psalm 16:2 … O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee;

Since God is the Source of all that is good, our goodness does not benefit God. As believers, we are not called to do good because it helps God out. King David got to thinking one night, and had a conversation with Nathan the Prophet:

2 Samuel 7:1-3 And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the Lord had given him rest round about from all his enemies; 2 That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains. 3 And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the Lord is with thee.

God had been so good to David and Israel that he wanted to build God a house, a place of worship. The “Ark of God” or the “Ark of the Covenant” (Exodus 25:10-22) symbolically represented the Presence of God with His people. Within the Ark were the tablets of the Law, which reminded God’s people that it is the Lord – not man – Who establishes good and right. There was also a jar of manna which symbolized God’s provision for His people, as well as Aaron’s Rod that budded which proved that God can bring life out of death. This Ark of the Covenant resided in a tent, the Tabernacle. David’s thought was:

God is so good to me – and to us as His people – that I want to do good to Him. I’ll build God a house to stay in.”

Nathan wasn’t against the idea initially, but God spoke to Nathan that night.

2 Samuel 7:5-13 (ESV) ‘Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house to dwell in? 6 I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling. 7 In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’ 8 Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. 9 And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 10 And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. 12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall 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.

God told David, “You want to build Me a house. I need no house. But I will build My people a House, and build your House. I will put One of your children on your Throne, to rule and reign forever”. This was a prophecy of the coming of Jesus Christ.

When we do good, it does not add to God, for God is all good. Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to Thee. We are called as His Children to do good, not because our doing good will add to God, but because our doing good is a source of OUR blessing.

Psalm 16:2-3 my goodness extendeth not to Thee; 3 But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight.

Doing good as God defines good blesses us. Doing bad as God defines evil hurts us. My goodness extendeth not to Thee; 3 But to the saints that are in the earth. Doing good blesses the Saints, those who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. When we DO GOOD, God blesses us. The Scripture says:

Psalm 34:14-17 (ESV) Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. 16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. 17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.

We “do good” not because “good” saves us (for Jesus said “No one is good, except God alone” [Mark 10:18]), but because doing good preserves us.

We are to “do good” in a world that does bad, because “doing good” is blessed of Jesus. Jesus told us:

Luke 6:27-36 (ESV) … I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. … 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

As God does good, we are to do good. As God does good to the undeserving, we are to do good to the undeserving. This alone brings stability and light into this present darkness. The Apostle wrote:

1 Thessalonians 5:15 (ESV) See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.

Galatians 6:10 (ESV) So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

2 Thessalonians 3:13 (ESV) … brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.

We who believe are to DO GOOD as God defines DOING GOOD. Why? Because it blesses us, it blesses our community, it blesses our nation. When people chase after false gods, they are not doing good, but evil. It is an evil thing to chase after an idol. An idol did not make this earth. An idol is “nothing at all” (1 Corinthians 8:1), and “there is no God but One, the God of Scripture”. An idol is a figment of the imagination.

Psalm 16:4 Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips.

People say “there are many ways unto God”. That is absolutely untrue. There is but ONE WAY unto God, and that is through Jesus Christ (John 14:6). God will not bless those who chase after false gods and goddesses. God will not honor worship that departs from His Biblical Word. God will not honor those who will not come to Him in faith, believing that Christ was sent to redeem us from all sin. Jesus Christ …

Titus 2:14 (ESV) … gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are ZEALOUS FOR GOOD WORKS

Saved by faith in Christ, we are saved to do good as He defines good. We are to live our lives for Him Who loves us so.

Our Desire Should Always Be God Himself

Psalm 16:5-6 The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. 6 The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.

The Puritan Preacher Jonathan Edwards preached (The True Christian’s Life a Journey Towards Heaven):

God is the highest good of the reasonable creature. The enjoyment of Him is our proper happiness, and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied.”

David said, The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup. Many today are not content with their lives, because they are trying to find contentment within themselves, or through things. This does not bring contentment. The Apostle said:

Philippians 4:11-13 (ESV) … I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

The Apostle found his portion in the God Who loved him, and loves us. When your portion is found in the dark sources of this world …

identity politics
gender dysphoria
sexual deviations
temporal blessings in things
mammon or the love of money
fame or power

…you will find in time that these things are but temporary satisfactions. The greatest satisfaction is to possess, and be possessed of God. If you’re not a possessor of and possessed of God, you get into weirdness and evil. Look at the headlines:

From ESPN: First Known Transgender Athlete Wins Championship

From National Review: {Supreme Court} Judge Refuses To Define “Woman” During Confirmation Hearing

From FOX: Biden Administration Endorses Transgender Youth Sex Change Operations

Evil is defined as that which is wrong as God defines wrong, but cloaks itself in rightness and blessing. God does not create evil – and God hates sin. The Scripture says:

1 John 1:5 (ESV) … God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

Romans 2:4-6 (ESV) … do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 He will render to each one according to his works

Our America is going into deeper and darker evil because our citizens are seeking happiness in sin and self. Our Churches have abandoned the Gospel of Christ, teaching worldly “social justice” rather than love of God. The Apostle warns those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.

God delays the punishment of sin, and gives one more day of life, because He is steadfast in His love toward His creation. He calls us out of darkness, and into His marvelous light. The Psalmist said:

Psalm 36:5-9 (ESV) Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. 6 Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O Lord. 7 How precious is your steadfast love, O God! … 9 For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.

In God’s light, we see light. God – the Source of goodness – shows us the way to go. “Your Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). God’s light gives us life, eternal life. “The God Who said ‘let light shine out of darkness’ has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Psalm 16:7-9 I will bless the Lord, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. 8 I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.

We who are saved by Grace through faith in Christ live for the Lord Who loves us. He is our portion. Our hope is in Him. Our God has conquered the grave. To those who love Him above all else, we will be with Him in glory. David closes with:

Psalm 16:10-11 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Word Study: This verse has been misinterpreted by many because of the King James translation. The word translated hell is the Hebrew שְׁאוֹל shᵉʼôwl, {pronounced sheh-ole}. When we hear the word hell, we think of the place of torment, where unbelievers in God go. We think of the rich man of Jesus’ parable in Luke 16:23, “in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments. We think of what Jesus said of hell, that it would be better to cut off a foot, than to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched” (Mark 9:45). David is not talking about the place of eternal punishment where the unbelieving go. David is speaking of the Grave. How do I know this? Because Peter preached this Psalm on the Day of Pentecost, and applied it to Jesus Christ Who rose from the dead (Acts 2:23-32). Jesus did not go to “hell”, but to the Grave. His body went into the tomb, but on the third day He was resurrected, and is alive forever more. The Apostle Paul also preached this text of Christ while in the Synagogue of Antioch in

Acts 13:35-37 Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 36 For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: 37 But {Jesus}, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.

Here is the good – no, the GRAND NEWS. For those who have believed on Jesus, they shall not suffer the corruption of the grave. Though we may die physically, because of Christ we shall live beyond the grave. For Jesus has promised:

John 11:25-26 (ESV) … “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

God is the Portion of those who believe in Jesus. Our health will decline, and circumstances in life may bring pain into our temporal lives. People may misuse and abuse us. But we are to do good regardless as to what others do – and cling to the Lord as David did. May God move your hearts to do so this very day. Amen and amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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