David's psalms are praised for how true-to-life they are, how honest and raw he is when crying out to the Lord. It's something we can all relate to, we're told. Something we know so well as real human beings ourselves, as persons who are persecuted, oppressed, concerned, stressed, and just trying to do our best with this thing called faith.
For all that there is in David's psalms to relate to, there are also some dramatic ways in which David is very, very different from us. Ways in which we need to pay close attention and to learn from him.
Take, for example, Psalm 4. In this psalm, David cries out to the Lord after the Lord rescues him.
When was the last time you prayed to God after your immediate need had passed?
We are a people who have to be taught, it seems, to pray at all. Our souls cry out, but we learn through life and through our experiences to stop them. Or at least to stop paying attention to them. It seems so silly that our natural instinct is to cry out to God, so in order to not appear foolish in the eyes of others, we stop - and then we have to learn all over again.
And most of us spend so much of our lives just trying to learn how to cry out in our need that there's not time, really, even in a long, full life to add any depth of prayer to our crying out. There's not time to think about other things. It takes us a lifetime, and sometimes longer, to even master praying to God when we need something (rather than trying to solve it ourselves).
Most of us don't even think about going back afterward to say Thank You. Or, you know, to just visit and enjoy being with God. To just chat and be close to Him.
Who has time for that?
David, a man after God's own heart, has time for that. He pens this psalm after the danger is gone, after the need has passed, after the Lord has rescued him. It's weird to us to see a prayer that is not, "Lord, rescue me!" but rather, "Lord, You rescued me...."
No wonder we too easily forget who God is and how much He loves us; we aren't using our prayer, our intimate time with Him, to remember.
No wonder when another need arises, we cry out desperately all over again; we don't know, don't remember, what He's already done.
No wonder we always find ourselves wondering if prayer even works; we neglect it entirely when it does.
Maybe the reason it's so hard for us to pray is because we only do it when we're desperate, and not when we are simply dearly loved.
When was the last time you prayed to God in anything but a panic? When was the last time you prayed in love and not in need?