David’s Psalm 143 prayer describes a soul’s thirst. It is based on God’s mercy, faithfulness, and righteousness that he knew well; only there could it be assuaged. He acknowledges his own lack of righteousness, and tells his complaint: “For the enemy has pursued my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead. Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled. My spirit fails!” Then he recalls and meditates on all God has done since days of old. Praise focusing on Who God is awakens confession when we realize how short we fall, which stirs up gratitude for His lovingkind works. These set the table for expectant asking, and that is what David does next.
“I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Answer me quickly, O Lord! Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord! I have fled to you for refuge.Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground! For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life! In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!”
In honest desperation, David’s every request is grounded in utter trust in his God and His attributes. Show up! Encourage me! Guide me! Deliver me! Teach me! Lead me! Preserve me! His ‘amen’ is confident submission: “And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies, and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am your servant.”
Lord, keep me aware of how parched I am without You. Slake my soul-thirst with reminders of Your steadfast love and robust love in Your ongoing work on my behalf. I stretch out my hands to You in worship and need.