Reading the Word
Psalm 66:17–20 (ESV)
17 I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. 18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. 19 But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer. 20 Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!
Understanding and Applying the Word
These verses conclude Psalm 66. Here we read that the psalmist called out to God. This is a way of saying that the psalmist prayed for God’s help. This is no surprise, especially given the verses that we have been reading in the rest of the psalm. But notice what accompanies the psalmist’s petitions: praise and repentance.
Praise and repentance should always be a part of our prayer lives. When we come before the holy God of creation, He is deserving of praise and it is through our praise that we are reminded of the privilege of prayer as it produces humility in our hearts. Also, when we confess our sin with a sincere desire to turn from it, our focus shifts from ourselves to God’s grace and His overflowing love. When we come before God in this manner, we can be sure that God does not reject our prayer, but that He hears and He answers according to His will.
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