Prayer is based on an assumption; prayer assumptions are steps of faith. We believe God hears and is able and willing to respond to what we say. Prayer in its purest form assumes a relationship, and in its best form, a relationship of friendship. In the Bible friendship was not merely a relationship of affinity. Friendship was established and codified in a covenant. Each side knew what to expect and what was expected of them. God made a friendship covenant with his people and in that arrangement established clearly what could be expected of him and what he expected in return.
The right to talk to and with God has always been the foundation of a relationship with him. It’s a legally established right. In other words, friendship with God can be a certainty and the dialog can be on predictable terms. It’s not a stretch; nor is it presumptuous to say, “I am God’s friend” and to talk with him accordingly.
Psalm 143 is a song lyric written by King David. It’s a poem of friendship, where David acts on the certainty that he can relate with God in an intimate and “certain” way. Here’s the first section. Notice that David calls on God to answer and act because he knows God is faithful and righteous. He appeals to God’s promise and his character.
Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my plea! Answer me because you are faithful and righteous.
We pray today beginning with this established fact: God is faithful and good! He’s said what he is and what he will do, ahead of time. Before I say anything specific about my needs or appeals, I say this. God is good and he keeps his word. I am his friend and I can bank on the predictability of his loyalty. I can shoot straight and predict his response. That’s the basis of my communication with him!
Today, as you pray, begin with a declarative: “You are faithful and right!” It may be hard to say. Perhaps your emotions doubt that God really is good. But muster your faith, and speak the truth no matter. Begin prayer with this first line of Psalm 143 and know that whatever elements of prayer follow, you begin with friendship.