To pray for something is to ask for a gift. Therefore when we pray to God, we do not try to bargain with Him. That is not praying. Praying is throwing ourselves completely upon God's mercy and grace. It contains no promises whereby we try to induce Him to give us what we seek. God does have a heavenly storehouse full of blessings; but God does not run a store. He does not exchange blessings for works of men.
When David in Psalm 51:14 writes, "Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of Thy righteousness," he is not bargaining with God, offering Him praise, if He will only take away His guilt. For note that this very prayer is full of praise. He calls God the God of his salvation. He already speaks of God's righteousness. And in the next verse he adds, "O Lord, open Thou my lips; and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise.'' It is not something he is going to do for God, if he is saved. God will have to give him the desire and ability to sing His praises. No, David's reason for speaking of praising God, if his bloodguiltiness is removed, is that to give thanks unto God, there must be a reason. And in this instance it is not only that the guilt of murder is taken away, but that the desire to walk in sin has been removed by God. Doing this God will open our lips and cause us to praise His name.
And what an abundant reason we have to praise God, as we live on this side of the cross of Christ. There is the undeniable evidence of the blotting out of all of our sins. Ought we not then be very busy singing of His love, of His wisdom and power, of His righteousness and faithfulness to His promises? As David sang, so should we in the versification:
Savior all my guilt remove,
And my tongue shall sing Thy love:
Touch my silent lips, O Lord,
And my mouth shall praise accord.
By nature our lips are closed. Or far worse, they utter folly and evil. But God opens the lips of His people. And to be sure we are His children, we must find that praise on our lips every day.
Read: Psalm 98
Psalter versification: 143:3
Devotions on the Heidelberg Catechism
Song for Meditation: Psalter number 349
Why not sing along??
Through the Bible in One Year
Exodus 12:14-51; Exodus 13:1-16
Matthew 20:29-34; Matthew 21:1-22
Quote for Reflection:
… it is exactly those Christians that are spiritually most sensitive and that have advanced farthest on the way of sanctification that will most deeply bemoan their imperfect state, and confess that they have but a small beginning of the new obedience. – Herman Hoeksema