1 Chronicles 17:16-27 (Part 2) – WTCI – This Is How We Do It!

Posted: May 5, 2020 in 13-1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 17:16-27 (Part 2 of 2)

David’s Prayer of Thanks

There was an old song by Montell Jordan back when my kids were in elementary school and they just loved it. It was called “This Is How We Do It”. That phrase is what came to mind when I read through this passage. It was a phrase that stuck in my head for “this is how we do it” in the way that we often pray. Conversely, “this is how we do it” is also the way that we should pray when we read how David prays.

Oh, God, I wish you would…, Oh, God, please give me…, Oh God, I need…, does this sound familiar? This pattern is often, most often, how we begin our prayers. I admit it. I am not exempt from this statement. We often come at God like a blitzkrieg bombing raid by the Germans over London during the middle of World War II. Prayer bombs falling all over the place. We begin our prayers by immediately setting off on to a list of things we want and need. We act as though God is our vending machine or puppet that is supposed to dispense solutions for us on demand. We get angry or disappointed when God does not serve up the menu requests that we have made and serve them as we had ordered them. My own heart is being convicted like crazy as I type these words. Maybe, you are too. We all get the prayer system messed up.

I know that often when I pray, I just plow right in and start telling God what I want and what I need. God, please help us reawaken a spiritual hunger in our church to reach the unchurched in our community. God, please help me figure out ways to get younger couples into our church. God, please help me to figure out ways to truly connect with the youth group at our church. God, please help me figure out ways to light the missions and outreach passion of our church.  God, please help me figure out ways to do this or do that in my church. And those are just my prayers about my professional life as a pastor of a local church. My personal prayers are filled with as much or more, I’s, me’s, and my’s and the things I want. During football season, I pray for Tiger victories when it’s a close game or victory is in doubt. Are you that way, too? Are your prayers as self-centered as mine? Are we alone in this?

We can get answer to that last question by looking at the results of a survey about prayer. A 2014 survey by LifeWay Research (see article at https://baptistnews.com/article/self-centered-prayers-no-surprise-to-american-pastors/#.XrFXyJl7nIU) showed that:

  • When asked what they typically pray for, 82 percent of respondents said for “family and friends,” followed by “my own problems and difficulties” at 72 percent.
  • Good things that have happened (54 percent) was next, followed by “my own sin” (42 percent). Victims of natural disasters (38 percent), God’s greatness (37 percent) and their own “future prosperity” (36 percent) were other categories.
  • The survey also asked those who pray if they have ever prayed for specific kinds of people or events.
  • Some — 41 percent — said they have prayed for people who mistreat them, while 37 percent said they had prayed for their enemies.
  • Twenty-one percent said they have prayed for winning lottery tickets and 13 percent for their favorite teams to win games.

Why do I indict myself and possibly you the reader of this blog this morning? Well, it’s because there is a stark difference between how David prays here in this passage and how we typically pray. That’s the thing I thought of this morning as I read this passage, 1 Chronicles 17:16-27. Let’s read it together now:

16 Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said:

“Who am I, Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? 17 And as if this were not enough in your sight, my God, you have spoken about the future of the house of your servant. You, Lord God, have looked on me as though I were the most exalted of men.

18 “What more can David say to you for honoring your servant? For you know your servant, 19 Lord. For the sake of your servant and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made known all these great promises.

20 “There is no one like you, Lord, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears. 21 And who is like your people Israel—the one nation on earth whose God went out to redeem a people for himself, and to make a name for yourself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt? 22 You made your people Israel your very own forever, and you, Lord, have become their God.

23 “And now, Lord, let the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house be established forever. Do as you promised, 24 so that it will be established and that your name will be great forever. Then people will say, ‘The Lord Almighty, the God over Israel, is Israel’s God!’ And the house of your servant David will be established before you.

25 “You, my God, have revealed to your servant that you will build a house for him. So your servant has found courage to pray to you. 26 You, Lord, are God! You have promised these good things to your servant. 27 Now you have been pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, Lord, have blessed it, and it will be blessed forever.”

In this passage, we see that there are very defined parts to David’s prayer. In contrast, we sometimes are quick to make requests of God and to tell Him our troubles, but these dimensions of prayer can deepen our spiritual life. Take time to praise God, to count the blessings that He has bestowed upon us, and to affirm our commitment to do what God has told us to do. Here, you see David, first, humbles himself in prayer (1 Chr. 17:16-18). Then, he praises God (1 Chr. 17:19-20). He recognizes God’s blessings upon his life and the life of his people (1 Chr. 17:21-22). Finally, he commits to following God’s direction for his life (1 Chr. 17:23-24).

This pattern is effective :

  1. Worship – we should reflect on the person of God, who He is, what He is and who we are by comparison. We should address the one to whom we are praying and demonstrate to Him and to ourselves how much we honor and respect Him because of who He is – the Great I AM! God is praiseworthy. Getting that fact under our skin is not as easy as we might think. Self-centered praying fails to appreciate that our purpose here on earth is to praise our Creator and Redeemer. Thus, it humbles us and gives us the ability to seek His will in prayer and not necessarily our own.
  2. Thanksgiving – we should reflect on what God has already done in our lives in the past. It not only gets us out of that “what have you done for me lately” mentality, it also gives us reassurance by reflection on how God has always answered our prayers in the past according to His will. We can reflect on how His answers may not have been in the fashion or timing we wanted but it turned out to be the right answer in the right way at the right time.
  3. Confession – Confessing our sin cleanses us and gives us confidence that nothing in our heart will hinder our prayers.  It also postures us in a place of humility before God and prepares our heart to receive His presence.  When we approach God with a pure heart, we become an empty vessel, ready to be filled up with the Holy Spirit. 
  4. Intercession – through the process of worship, thanksgiving and confession, we are now ready to tell God what is on our heart. When we do our prayers in this type of order, it helps us get to a place of humility before we make our own petitions to the Lord. It is funny how this will work out. You might go in thinking a self-centered desire, but by starting with worship and thanksgiving to the Lord, and then confessing our daily sins, it will really get you focused on the idea…hey I am a sinner that is only coming before God because of the grace of Jesus Christ, then, who am I to DEMAND things from God. When we go down the prayer road in this way, we get to our petitions with an humbled heart that might have come at God with a haughty heart without it.

Thus, let us take a cue from David here on how we pray. Maybe, if you are like me and have gotten so engrained in just blurting out to God what we want, we need to write down this 4-step process, Worship, Thanksgiving, Confession, and Intercession (WTCI) until we get it down cold.

Amen and Amen.

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