Psalm 34:6

This poor man cried,
and the LORD heard him,
and saved him out of all his troubles.

~ Psalm 34:6

Our text is one that all can identify with. If you have been on the way for very long at all, you have prayed the poor man’s prayer. David was driven out by his enemies and had not a friend in the world. His head had been anointed. His ascent to the throne was imminent. He was the royal stock. It had been said that he was a man after God’s own heart. Yet, he is reduced to play the poor man. He was destitute and afflicted. His life was on the line and he cried out to God. Let us note some things concerning this rough petition.

Firstly, a poor man has poor ways. Though David was to become king, he had nothing here to help himself. He was much like the woman in the Gospels who had come to an end of herself. Her physical condition was wretched. She had come to poverty visiting the doctors and was only worse for all her trouble. She had no hope. But, if only she could touch the hem of Jesus’ garment, she would be made whole. She had no other options. It was a plea of faith but also desperation. It is when we are brought to the place that we have nothing to help ourselves, we will cast our cares on Christ. In this condition we will pray as at no other time.

The poor man offers a poor prayer. This prayer is poor of words. Gone are wordy lines. There is no lavish speech with its grand phrases. We may lisp and stammer. If one were to overhear, surely such rough speech would jar their ears. They would probably judge it unworthy of an audience in the throne room of God. It is altogether unfit for God or man. I believe that even at our best, our prayers are poor. “For we know not what we should pray for as we ought.” The case almost seems hopeless.

Ah, but notice this prayer is called a “cry”, and rightly so. This prayer may be poor of fine words and elocution, but it is rich with earnestness. This fervent petition is not cumbered with many ornaments, which allows for much more haste. When we have prayed in this manner, helpless, scared, not knowing what to do, we have found that terrible throne to be a throne of grace. The gates of heaven have swung open and granted access when at other times they have seemed to us closed fast. We feel as if we were one with Jacob, of whom the scriptures say, “And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed” (Ge 32:28).

Secondly, this poor prayer is heard and answered. Though stripped of pleasantries with all pretenses removed, this effectual fervent prayer has availed much. Often in our weakest condition have we found God the closest to us. Truly, “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart.” Our prayers have been heard most graciously when they have risen as the impulse of a broken heart. Our desperate circumstance has not hindered, but has helped our pleas. Thanks be to God that has heard and delivered.

Christian, what is your plight at this hour? Are you burdened, heavy-laden, or overwhelmed? Then go without delay. Fly to the throne grace. There you may find help in the time of need. Don’t bother with forming proper words and sentences. Rely on the Spirit. He helps our infirmities by making intercessions for us with groanings that cannot be uttered. Depend upon your Father to understand. “He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer” (Ps 102:17). Though we are poor and needy, He thinks of us. Praise be to His most Holy Name!

About Jeff Short