Psalm 20 is considered a royal psalm as deals with a king (v. 6, 9). It is also a psalm of prayer before David and Israel entered battle. David fought the Lord’s battles, as he did with Goliath (1 Samuel 17:47). It was common for kings to pray before battle, just as Jehoshaphat did in 2 Chronicles 20. They also offered sacrifices as did Samuel before defeating the Philistines in 1 Samuel 7. Prayer is a huge part of spiritual warfare and God’s people must use it to combat the evils they face. The Psalm is divided into two main sections: a prayer for blessing (vv. 1-5) and assurance of victory (vv. 6-9). Prayer and faith go together. Asking God for help and expecting Him to give it are bedrock pillars of prayer. What battles are you facing? Are you praying? David and his people were praying, reminding us we cannot pray for our battles by ourselves. We must include others who will faithfully pray with us. If we want the victory, we must be people of prayer.
Psalm 20:1-5 uses the word “may” six times in five verses. These five verses are prayers of the people for David as he leads them in battle. Notice how it uses “you” and “your”. It is right to pray for our leaders. 1 Timothy 2:1-3 says it is good and pleases God when we pray for those in authority over us as it will bring peace, holiness, and godliness. Those in authority over us who watch over our souls must give an account before God (Hebrews 13:17). David’s people prayed for protection (v. 1), help and support (v. 2), acceptance of his worship (v. 3), success and fulfilled desire (v. 4), and joy (v. 5a) all “in the name of our God” (v. 5b). Are you praying this way for whoever is leading you? David’s success was Israel’s success but in reality it was God’s success. Asking the Lord to prosper your spiritual leaders is truly asking God’s agenda to advance. Don’t think of material possessions here. Advancing God’s agenda is the salvation and discipling of souls to build His church and advance His Kingdom. Praying for your spiritual leaders helps them to stay on track with God’s agenda and not their own.
In verses 6-9, David begins to pray (notice it changes from “you” to “I” and “we”). Not only were David’s people praying, David was praying. If any church is going to succeed, the people and the leadership must be people of prayer. It’s a group effort! If a family is going to have victory over the evil trying to destroy it, the husband must lead the way as a man of prayer. Same goes for a single mom (or dad) or whomever is to be the leader of the home. It’s good to remember that everybody is leading somebody. Would you want someone griping and complaining about your leadership or praying for you? These verses are an anticipation of victory because David’s plans have been the Lord’s plans. If we do what the Lord commands, we are assured victory. This does not mean a life of ease or without opposition. It does mean one lived full of purpose and fulfillment. David knew answers for prayer come from “His heavenly sanctuary” (v. 6) and not man. God’s right hand is mentioned in this verse and is a common way in Scripture to describe the power and authority of God to subdue His enemies. Being at the right hand of someone was also considered a place of honor and power. Jesus, Who is seated at the right hand of God (Romans 8:34; Acts 7:55-56; Ephesians 1:20), gives us the victory (1 Corinthians 15:57). David did not put his trust in battle in the chariots and horses (the tanks of that day), but only “in the name of the Lord our God” (v. 7). The people began this psalm (v. 1) by confidently asking the Lord to answer their call and David ended the psalm (v. 9) with that same confidence. We must be people of prayer because the Lord answers us when we call!
1. Are you satisfied with your prayer life?
2. Do you pray for your spiritual leaders?
3. If you are a spiritual leader of any size group, are you a leader of prayer?
Lord, teach us to pray and answer our prayers. Help us to pray for those in authority and submit to their leadership as it brings joy (Hebrews 13:17). Help us as leaders (everybody is leading somebody) to be people of prayer as well. Thank you for your answers and for the great victory only found in You!
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.
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