This morning as I was spending time with the Lord, I read Psalm 143 and though the entire Psalm moved my heart verses 5-6 in particular jumped out at me.
David is in some kind of trouble. It seems that he's been defeated by his enemies (vv. 3, 9), that he's in a "dark place" (vv. 3-4), and that he's therefore crying out to God. He writes in vv. 5-6, "I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands. I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land."
Several things jump out at me. First, in his distress, David disciplined himself to look to the past and remember all that God had done. Since he was such a lover of the Word, I take this to mean that he pondered the works of God as preserved in the Torah. Since he walked with God day by day, I take this to mean that he pondered all the things God had accomplished in his own life and times. Whatever the substance of his meditations were, the point is that in a time of trouble David responded by pondering the past works of God.
This set him up for the next step, namely, prayer and longing after God. Having pressed himself to ponder the works of God, David now stretched out his hands and called out to God, asking him, no doubt, to act now in the present moment. I can just hear him saying, "O God, I remember the many mighty works you have done, and now I ask you to act on my behalf for the glory of your name. And, Lord, not only do I call on you to act but I want you to know that I long for YOU. Yes, I want your help but mainly I want YOU. You are my treasure, you are my hope, you are my help."
Certainly David longed for God to answer his prayer but the prayer within the prayer was that he would know and have God himself all the more.
This train of thought really touched my heart this morning and I learned that in times of trouble the believing soul ought to ponder and prayer, remembering the works that God has done and pleading that he would add to them. And above all, the cry of the soul ought to be, "Oh God, I long and thirst for you regardless of how you respond to my pleas for mercy.
May the Lord be ever near to you this day,