Psalm 51:1–19

“Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart” (Ps. 51:6).

As we continue our look at biblical wisdom, we will today consider the importance of prayer in connection with living a life that is pleasing to God. Regrettably, it is all too easy to emphasize the importance of rightly applying the knowledge of God in a way that focuses solely on the gathering of information. While it is important that we study the Scriptures diligently in order that we might know about God, rightly applying this knowledge in the form of wisdom requires more than just study. We also must have a deep relationship with the Lord, expressed in a life of prayer, if we are going to be sensitive to how the Holy Spirit wants us to use God’s wisdom in our lives every day.

The connection between wisdom and prayer is highlighted in many places throughout the Bible. We have already seen in the book of James how we must first ask God to grant us wisdom if we are to be wise at all (James 1:5). Solomon was greatly revered for his wisdom — wisdom that came only after he went before the Lord in prayer (1 Kings 3:1–15).

Prayer is vital if we are to live before the presence of God. Unfortunately, prayer is often the hardest spiritual discipline to practice consistently. We instinctively know that we must pray, but we often find ourselves unsure of what to say or how to act when we come before the Lord.

In His providence, God has given us the book of Psalms as a guide for our prayer. At the heart of this wisdom book is a sense of adoration that flows from a heart completely dedicated to the things of God. These divinely inspired prayers demonstrate how the wise are to spend their time in prayer seeking wisdom and worshiping the Lord.

The Psalms vary in form. Some express great joy and others are filled with lament. Today’s passage is a psalm that expresses deep contrition and lament over sin. Even the wisest of us will, at least on occasion, do things that displease the Lord. When this happens, the wise go before the Lord in deep and true sorrow over their sin, asking the Lord to renew their minds and hearts.

Coram Deo

Do you truly realize the importance of prayer, or do you think that you can be wise without a deep and consistent prayer life? Take some time to consider the importance of prayer and how you can make it a habit to live a life bathed in prayer. Then, take Psalm 51 and pray through it, asking God to show you those areas where you have not been wise or have been treating others in ways that do not honor Him. Ask God to bring you to true repentance.

For Further Study