A Prayer of David

With this unexpectedly unique title “A Prayer of David”, Psalm 86 grabs our attention:

Perhaps this was a written prayer that David offered more than once…

Perhaps it was known by others and used as a framework for prayer… 

We don’t really know – neither do we know the background to this Psalm. However, it has also been suggested that this Psalm could have been uttered hastily as weeping David ascended Olivet during the time of Absalom’s revolt (2 Sam 15v30).  The reason for this suggestion is v17 uses the phrase “those that hate me” which is also used in other Psalms written during the time of Absalom’s revolt (Psalm 35v19, 38v19, 41v7, 69 v4,14).

Either way, we can imagine the ‘help and comfort’ (v17) that this Psalm would have given to Messiah, ‘the son of Yahweh’s handmaid’ (v16), as he trod the same ancient steps up that path to his little garden on Olivet.  Possessing no personal power to overthrow his enemy, the Lord knew that all his strength was to be found in his Father for deliverance from the ‘assembly of violent men who sought his soul’ (v14). 

And so it is the same for us today, acknowledging that we are poor and needy, with no innate power, and so we use this Psalm to find that same comfort and hope (v17) as we offer our lives as a living sacrifice to our great God who does wondrous things! (v10).  

EXAMPLE of S.T.E.P Meditation: 


Copy out the Psalm, one little section at a time.

As an example:

Bow down thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy.


Write down as many biblical truths you can think of from these words.  

As an example:

  • God will bow down to hear me – when I cry out to him.
  • When I feel alone I can always talk to God.
  • God will always hear my prayer.
  • I am helpless without my God.  
  • Poor and needy – There is a need to be humble.


Meditate on and write down the personal exhortation relevant to you today.  

As an example: 

  • I am never alone, God is always with me.
  • My spirit when I approach my heavenly Father must be in humility. 
  • I can ask God to hear me – when I feel like he doesn’t. 


Start to compose your prayer based on your meditations. 

As an example:  

  • Father, I feel so helpless and alone, but I know from your word that you are near and that you hear my prayer – Hear my meditation and prayer around the ancient words of David’s prayer…

Continue to walk in these “S.T.E.P.S” through Psalm 86, composing your prayer as you go.  

This can take as much time as you need – depending on your life situation.  The important part is that we spend the time sitting quietly in the presence of our God and coming to know Him and the voice of His word.  

When you have finished your S.T.E.P. Meditation for all the verses of this Psalm, read through each prayer section in succession as a prayer offering to God our Master (Adoni; v3,4,5,8,12,15)

Further Suggestions: 

  • Consider having a spiritual friend – who you can do this together with – perhaps not at the same time in the same place but to provide accountability and encouragement. 
  • Consider sharing your prayer with God in the presence of your faithful friend.
  • Copy the Psalm and keep it in a place that you can see during your day.
  • Write out your prayer in a prayer journal so that you go back over and pray those words again.

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