Praying Psalm 139

“Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong— then guide me on the road to eternal life.” Psalm 139:23-24 (The Message)

Psalm 139 is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. Throughout the entire Psalm, David, who the Bible calls “a man after God’s own heart”, praises God for the intimate way He loves and knows him. David talks to God as a friend, saying:

“God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too— your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful— I can’t take it all in!”

He then continues praising God for His steadfastness, His intentionality, His wisdom, and His love. It’s like David knows that God is such a good Father, he just can’t help but praise and worship Him! The incredible thing is that we also get to know God in this beautiful way. We too have been lovingly formed, cared for, and known.

As David finishes the Psalm, he asks God to know and search His heart. David wants to know the state of his inner self and become more like God in the process. This is such a humble, beautiful prayer for each of us to pray. When we know how deeply we are loved by God, it’s safe to ask Him to search our hearts; He already knows what’s there anyways!

Using the Psalms as a guide, take a minute today to pray your own form of Psalm 139:

  • Praise God for His nearness to you (v. 1-12).
  • Praise God for how He has made you and who He has made you to be (v. 13-16).
  • Praise God for His majesty and ask Him to do away with any wickedness (v. 17-22).
  • Ask God to search your heart, be willing to let the Spirit bring to light any wrongdoing in you, and ask God to continue to lead you closer to Him (v. 23-24).

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