When we draw near to God, how do we approach God? Psalm 86 is unique in that the Psalmist addresses God in every single verse; all 17 verses do this. In every single one of these verses, David is striving to draw near to God. So if we can draw out some things from these verses it should help us in our drawing near to God. Since this is inspired Scripture, it means we are not sitting at the feet of David as we read this but we are sitting at the feet of the Lord himself, since Scripture is inspired by God.
We need to take the examples we find in the Psalms and bring them home and make them personal to us. We need to imitate these things and add them to our prayer life.
1 – You don’t need fancy verbiage to approach God.
2 – When you approach God, recognize the truth about your weakness. Christians are those who realize the truth about themselves. David says, “…for I am poor and needy.” This neediness helps create in us a boldness to ask in desperation.
3 – When you approach God don’t make yourself out to be worse than you are. We see this when David says in verse 2, “…for I am godly.”
4 – Approach God all day long…God wants us drawing near all of the time. We see this in verse 3, “…to You do I cry all the day.” Isaiah 62 says we are to give God no rest, even if we cannot find Him for a season.
5 – We are servants who are approaching our Master. We should expect that we will not be left outside when we approach God. We see this in verse 4, “Gladden the soul of your servant.”
6 – We approach a God who is abounding in steadfast love and forgiving. We see this in verse 5 and what a marvelous reality this is.
7 – When we approach God we are not doing so with some thought that we most likely will not be heard by God. We go believing that the Lord will do as verse 6 says, “Listen to my plea for grace.”
8 – As we approach God we do so with worship and praise to God. We see that in verse 9, “…worship before you, O Lord.” We ought to glorify the name of the Lord for all that He has done for us. Do you not see the worth of God?
9 – We approach God who is not only good but is great and has done wondrous things (86:10). We have a God who does wondrous things beyond what we can even ask or think. We don’t want to draw near to God and insult Him by just bringing forward small requests all of the time. Our request should be in proportion to the God that we are coming to. The Lord is not afraid that we will ask for too much and must not think that we can ask God too much.
10 – When approaching God, David asks the Lord to teach him His ways (11).
11 – When we draw near to God we need to confess anything in our life that is getting in the way of our relationship with the Lord. Here David says, “Unite my heart to fear Your name,” and that is what we need.
12 – We approach a God who is not like us… “You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious.” (15) This in contrast to the ruthless men who seek his life that he speaks of in verse 14.
13 – We must approach God with boldness and be direct. David says to the Lord, “Show me a sign of Your favor.” What boldness and directness David has in this prayer!
We have witnessed David nearing God for seventeen verses. You want to take some of these things and imitate them in your own prayer life. The early disciples said to the Lord, “Teach us to pray.” Here is some help for us to do so…we should make ourselves students of the Psalms. If one or two of these realities will grab hold of you, it can change your prayer life. David’s prayer life was not full of repetitive statements that were vague like, “Lord bless this, bless that, bless this other thing.” May God teach you and me how to approach Him.