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The Prayer Of A Student

(4) Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; (5) guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4-5

What should a student of the Word pray? What words should form from our lips, beseeching God for direction and understanding? David seemed to know.

Very often when we ponder or study the Word of God we try to do it with mechanics. We study hermeneutics, the science of interpretation, and work methodically to find the answers. And, while that is a wonderful tool, it does little to expose the heart of God in any matter. Without the heart of God being seen in a text or a concept, we walk away with a cold, rigid thought or concept and move ahead as if we now know what God intended.

When was the last time we approached a passage of scripture and asked God, right up front, to “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths?” When was the last time we asked Him to guide us in His truth and teach us?

David, in this Psalm, knew and understood that if his hope was in God, then God should be the leader of his thoughts. The God of our hope is also the God of our understanding and we do not have the mental ability to understand His thoughts and intents without His direction.

Studying the Word of God is a privilege. But it is a privilege with a challenge. You and I tend to process what we see and hear through our own experiences and our own concepts. This accounts for a vast amount of differences in the religious world today, including our own. We often ignore context and purpose and come up with all kinds of understandings that are just wrong.

God knows what He meant when He said something. Timing and circumstance of anything said can make a difference in how things are understood. We did not live five thousand years ago, or even two thousand years ago. We are long removed from the time frame when God uttered these things.

David was closer in time than you and I, yet, he was convinced that he needed God’s help in understanding His ways and His thoughts. He knew and understood that there was truth in these matters and needed God’s help to be led into them. So, he turned to the God of his hope for clarity.

God wants us to depend on Him. There is truth and there is understanding, but we will never know it without His help. We can wander aimlessly through the Word for a lifetime and never really see what God has to say. All the while, we can live in the delusion with utter confidence thinking that we do truly know.

His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. God is superior to man anywhere and any time and the only way we can truly know anything about His truth is for us to ask Him.

David had confidence that God, when asked, would reveal His ways. God can and will direct our hearts when we truly seek Him. He will help us understand when we really want to know. He will fulfill our hearts and minds when we empty them of our ways and fill them with His. He will touch our hearts with truth and fill our minds with understanding if we will trust Him to do so.

We will continue to study and probe. We will find consistency in the Word and live within its borders. We will do one thing and then another and add to our knowledge. But the only way to get His heart on the matter is to ask Him.

Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.