How Can We Pray and Apply King David's Prayer in Our Own Lives?
- Heather Riggleman Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2021 1 Apr
Ah, King David. We are all enamored with how much he loved God despite his mistakes. Most of all we use King David’s prayers as our own. He was known as the man who was after God’s own heart.
His life was full of ups and downs but that’s what anyone would expect from a man who was a protagonist mixed with being extraverted, intuitive, feeling, and judging personality traits. If the enneagram were a thing back in David’s day, he would likely be a two, meaning his basic fear was being unworthy of love and his desire was to feel love.
No wonder his psalms are so relatable. He knew the depths of despair. He understood betrayal and being betrayed. He also knew what it was like to be on top of the world. He also understood the love of our mighty God and perhaps one of the most prominent prayers in the Bible is his prayer of thanksgiving in 2 Samuel 7:18-29.
The Heart Behind David’s Prayer
We first meet David when he is just a teen tending to his father’s sheep. We learn even then that God loved David’s heart. Compared to all of his brothers, God saw his passion, his leadership skills, and the deep cry in his heart to be love and to show love to others. He was already primed to be a king—though no one except God knew until that very moment when God directed the prophet, Samuel, to anoint this kid.
Before we get into what King David’s prayer means, we need to understand some of the ups and downs in his life in order to truly understand the concept, content, and heart behind his prayer.
High: David is crowned king of Israel as a teenager.
High: He defeats Goliath.
High: He moves the capital of Israel to Jerusalem.
Low: King Saul makes him a fugitive and tries to murder him.
High: He becomes the king of Israel.
Low: He committed adultery with Bathsheba and then tries to cover it up and has Bathsheba’s husband killed.
Low: David and Bathsheba’s first son dies as a consequence of David’s sin.
High: God forgives David for his adultery and blesses him with his son Solomon.
Low: His own family falls apart. His son Absalom killed his other son Amnon in revenge for the rape of Absalom’s sister Tamar.
Low: Sadly, Absalom attempted to overtake the kingdom of Israel from him.
High: David’s men defeat Absalom’s men and take the kingdom back.
Low: Absalom is killed in battle.
High: His son becomes one of the wisest men in history.
What Is David’s Prayer and What Does it Mean?
Now that we have a bird’s eye view of King David’s life, it adds depth to the words he penned in the psalms and his prayers found in Samuel. 2 Samuel 7:18-29 is not only known as ‘King David’s Prayer,” it is also known as ‘David’s Prayer of Thanksgiving.’ In these verses, he humbly thanks God for his goodness.
This prayer reveals how David’s view of God grew instead of his ego. David could have thought, “I’m so great that even God gives me good gifts.” Instead, David’s heart is reflected in the prayer. Because of how God elevated his stature and his family, he praises God and tells God just how wonderful and mighty God is. He then boldly asks God to keep His word of blessing his family for generations to come. We see in this passage a crystal-clear example of this God-centered reality in David. Prior to his prayer of thanksgiving, David had dreamed of building a grand temple to honor God. But David would not get what he wanted. God told him that his son would build the temple. Despite not getting everything he wanted, David praised God anyway.
Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said:
“Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And as if this were not enough in your sight, Sovereign Lord, you have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant—and this decree, Sovereign Lord, is for a mere human!
“What more can David say to you? For you know your servant, Sovereign Lord. For the sake of your word and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made it known to your servant.
“How great you are, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears. And who is like your people Israel—the one nation on earth that God went out to redeem as a people for himself, and to make a name for himself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations and their gods from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt? You have established your people Israel as your very own forever, and you, Lord, have become their God.
“And now, Lord God, keep forever the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house. Do as you promised, so that your name will be great forever. Then people will say, ‘The Lord Almighty is God over Israel!’ And the house of your servant David will be established in your sight.
“Lord Almighty, God of Israel, you have revealed this to your servant, saying, ‘I will build a house for you.’ So your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant. Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, Sovereign Lord, have spoken, and with your blessing, the house of your servant will be blessed forever.”
How Can We Pray and Apply David's Prayer?
David’s prayer is applicable to our lives today. We may not be kings over nations, but God has set us as kings and queens in our own homes. We have friends, family, and a church community that care for us. We have all our needs met and God is still authoring our stories as we wake up every morning with breath in our lungs.
Our thoughts and prayers ought to mirror David’s. He meditated on God’s Word and let God’s Word soak into his spirit. Who are we that God thinks of any of us? Truly!
From David’s prayer, we can learn how to praise and trust God. David opens his prayers with gratitude, praise, and thanksgiving. He puts God at the center instead of himself when he opens his mouth with the words, “Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?”
David never stops praising God throughout his prayer even when he boldly asks God to keep his word about the future generations of his family. We can see in his prayer that he not only knew God would keep his word, David knew he didn’t have to worry because he trusted God. How often do you and I trust that God will work out all things for our good? Even when David’s life was full of things that caused worry and heartache, he intentionally looked up in thanksgiving to God. He shows us how to pray in accordance with God’s promises. It’s as if God’s promises became the foundation of David’s hope, clarity, wisdom, and encouragement.
He asks for the Lord to bless, direct and provide. What more do we ask for? Matthew 6:31-33 also reminds us, “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
And we’re reminded again in Philippians 4:19, “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”
In fact, there are over 365 verses in the Bible that tell us not to fear or worry. If there is one Bible verse for every day of the year that commands us not to worry or fear—don’t you think we should trust God has our lives safely in His hands?
No matter what you’re going through, David’s prayer of thanksgiving is a beautiful place to start. When worry, doubt, or the uncertainty of the future start to untether us, we can use David’s prayer as a way to combat the enemy of fear. We can trust that our mighty God is still authoring our lives and will use His plans for our good!
Related: Listen to our podcast, Teach Us to Pray with Christina Patterson. You can find all the episodes at LifeAudio.com.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Halfpoint
Heather Riggleman is an award-winning journalist and a regular contributor for Crosswalk. She calls Nebraska home with her three kids and a husband of 22 years. She believes Jazzercise, Jesus, and tacos can fix anything and not necessarily in that order! She is author of I Call Him By Name Bible Study, the Bold Truths Prayer Journal, Mama Needs a Time Out, and a contributor to several books. You can find her at www.heatherriggleman.com or on Facebook.