The psalms were written as conversation with God, where the psalmists express freely their thoughts and feelings. This is the true nature of prayer with honest heartfelt expression, and there is no formula required. Often the psalms vocalise remembrance of God’s saving acts on behalf of His people which brings a change of perspective. As we wind down at the end of the day it is good to recall what God has done for us and to realign our thinking with the truth of God’s word. Using the psalms for evening prayer is an ideal way of doing this.
“Prayer is the way we work our way out of the comfortable but cramped world of self and into the spacious world of God.” Eugene Peterson.
Psalm 4 The Message
1 When I call, give me answers. God take my side! Once, in a tight place, you gave me room; now I’m in trouble again: grace me! hear me!
2 You rabble – how long do I put up with your scorn? How long will you lust after lies? How long will you live crazed by illusion?
3 Look at this: look. Who got picked by God! He listens the split second I call to him.
4-5 Complain if you must, but don’t lash out. Keep your mouth shut and let your heart do the talking. Build your case before God and wait for his verdict.
6-7 Why is everyone hungry for more? “More, more,” they say, ”More, more.” I have God’s more-than- enough, more joy in one ordinary day
7-8 Than they get in all their shopping sprees. At day’s end I’m ready for sound sleep. For you, God have put my life back together.”Psalm 4:1-8 MSG
Psalm 4 Meaning
The psalm opens with an appeal, a request to be heard by God and this is always our desire in prayer that we will receive a response. David brings what’s on his mind straight to God – he’s in trouble again! This is relatable because so often we are praying from the same position, where we feel surrounded by our problems.
David remembers, though, a previous time when God rescued him and brought him into a spacious place – the wide-open space of God’s grace. The spacious place is a place of no restrictions, with a freedom to roam, unconfined by threat and danger.
When our thoughts are oppressed, we can feel trapped, going over and over the same worries and unable to let them go! But Jesus is waiting to take that burden, for us to lay it down and give it to Him. In the wide-open space of God’s grace, there is peace and a stillness, a freedom to be who we are, unrestrained, with a sense of wellbeing in the wonder of God, our Heavenly Father.
The king was being slandered and accused by those who looked to him to preserve the nation from all disasters – they were blaming him for some event or calamity, possibly a drought. By their accusations and lies, they were undermining the king’s authority. They were bringing his rule into public dispute and endangering his throne.
The people, instead of grumbling and complaining, should have been seeking God and looking for his deliverance. There is a clear message for us that ultimately, we are not to put our hope, or our faith in political leaders or governments. But we are to pray for those who are in authority over us.
Related post: Respect
David, however, is assured that God will hear his prayer, and that God is his vindicator, an assurance that is available to all who trust in God.
Waiting on God
We are not to give way to anger or fear and look to apportion blame for our present troubles. This can be a trap, going over and over what has happened and focusing on the unfairness of the situation. Instead of recrimination, we need to search our own hearts, and if necessary, acknowledge our mistakes. It may be that repentance is required to move on….
Or it could be that we are learning the biggest and most difficult life lesson – to trust in God. To trust in the waiting, to trust through pain and suffering, to trust for those that we love, to trust for healing, to trust for……… I’m sure you will all have your own words, for something that you have faced, or are facing, that is challenging you to experience new levels of trust in God.
Trust in God Alone
The temptation to run from place to place, to look for someone or something ‘more’ to solve all our problems is a trap that it is so easy to fall into when we are looking for help. But there is nothing, or no-one, that will satisfy the deep needs of our soul, only God alone. The blessing comes when we turn to God, and make our appeal to Him, when we rely on Him, as the source of deliverance.
Safe and Secure
The author of the psalm, king David, speaks now with confidence that God has heard and has answered his prayer. The blessing will come, the situation is resolved, for he has placed it in God’s hands. David acknowledges that his peace and security are found in God alone – he is no longer anxious and knows that he can rest and sleep.
God is the One who enables us to live securely in an insecure world – that is our testimony and our witness to His faithfulness. No matter what situation we are in, God is perfectly able to sustain, to strengthen, to protect and to provide for His people.
Powerful Evening Prayers
What makes a powerful evening prayer? What do we need as we come to the end of the day? Words that calm our fears, still our minds, and bring a sense of release. A time to let go of the busyness of the day, to put down the burden of responsibility, and to reset and restore our inner peace. Our desire is to rest in confidence, knowing that we, and all those whom we love, are secure in the Lord.
Anxiety is like a creeping weed. Those plants in the garden that we need to be vigilant, watching out for, as they can take hold and spread so quickly. Anxiety is invasive and steals our peace – the peace that Jesus has won for us. The peace that the Lord promised that He would give us – not as the world gives, dependent on external circumstances – but a deep inner peace as we are reconciled with God.
Reading and meditating on the psalms for evening prayer can be powerful, as we declare the truth of God’s word over our lives. Psalm 4 is an evening prayer written by king David. In this psalm we can see, and learn from, the progression of his thoughts and feelings, leading him to a place of peace and rest.
Now, because of you, Lord, I will lie down in peace and sleep comes at once, for no matter what happens, I will live unafraid!Psalm 4:8 TPT
Psalms for Evening Prayer
Psalm 4 Prayer – Lord, be gracious to me, and hear my prayer. I am placing my trust in you, my Sovereign God. I bring my petition to you and lay my problems, worries and cares at your feet. Lord, I look to you, and you alone, and wait for your answer. Let your peace surround me this night with the assurance of your unfailing love. Amen.
7 Psalms to Read at Night
Although facing life threatening circumstances, the psalm is one of confidence and assurance of God’s faithful care. “I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the Lord sustains me.” Psalm 3:5
The joy that comes with the knowledge of God’s gracious care and the feeling of security that it brings. “LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.” Psalm 16:5
Total trust in the Lord, as our Good Shepherd and guide, at all times, and through all circumstances. “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” Psalm 23:2-3
A song of praise, declaring and reminding ourselves of the power and Majesty of God our Creator. “The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.” Psalm 29:11
An expression of trust in God, with hope and expectancy in His unfailing love. “Truly my soul finds rest in God” “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.” Psalm 62:1,5
A word of assurance, of security, for those who trust in God. “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty” Psalm 91:1
A reminder that our security and blessing are found in God alone, and that our place of rest is found in the knowledge of His loving care. “for he grants sleep to those he loves.” Psalm 127:2
May God bless you….
The LORD bless you and keep you, the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you, the LORD turn his face towards you and give you peace.Numbers 6:24-26