Pleas for Grace
Human beings are creatures of need. In fact, it is in the needing that humanity demonstrates it is utterly creaturely. From the air that we breathe and the nourishment of our bodies to our pangs for safety, love and affirmation- we are helplessly bound to needing amidst our highest heights and greatest works. This endless incompleteness of the soul, this raging dependence, distinguishes between creatures and their Creator. Long before humans communicated with one another, God communicated with one another. While we do not know what the content of the communication between the Trinity entailed prior to creation, God’s speech has reached us in the Scriptures making known that the content of God’s speech is one of affirming love (John 3:35) and grace (Genesis 1:26, John 3:16). Our needing of that love and grace is what motivates humans to communicate. The truth of that need makes our permanent posture of needing a bit of a fixed deal. We will not stop communicating in a world where our ideals are to be affirmed in our speech about who we think we are and what we want. We will not stop making pleas.
God’s covenant love, however, toward those he is bringing into the family of God, is that they may partake in the affirming love and grace of the Trinity in receiving their communicated pleas for grace by way of prayer. This is exactly what David is experiencing in Psalm 86:6 (which for emphasis is an echoing repetition of the same calling out to God in verse 1 and plea for grace in verse 3). He calls upon God again, not as a distant deity that he must impress with a self-pitying display, but as his covenant Lord- as Creator! David is confessing the God who is perfectly without need. God, he affirms, is uniquely suited to answer his deepest internal needs (on display here by his own plea for grace). God has graciously given us the ability to communicate in prayer to give us that which we yearn for more than anything: grace! Grace is our greatest need. Lavished love intermingled with forbearance of offenses and cast upon a security pledge that will never be broken, is David’s greatest need and why he makes his appeal in prayer. Prayer isn’t merely a healthy spiritual discipline. Prayer isn’t fiber or a protein shake for the soul. Prayer is the means by which we access grace in a way that helps us perceive that that unconditioned grace is accessible. Prayer leads to God, and Christ is that greater David who has prayed, not just for the appearance of grace, but that it may be given to us. At the moment we pray, our every misgiven communication to all that is not God is undone. Every time we made another human being the idealized solution to our internal poverty: be it friend, loved one, or spouse; or those we plead for grace to by falling into deep sin and outright rebellion against the Lord with…in all of these and with all of their lingering, besetting effects on our hearts; we find the grace we actually needed by impoverishing ourselves, extending the hand that pleads, and taking hold of our gracious Lord and savior, in prayer.
A good book to read on prayer is: Prayer by Timothy Keller
The Vasquez Family
(Kevin, Deborah, Aaron, and Nathanael)