So why do you pray? What motivates you to whisper in your Father’s ear? Is it even worthwhile to do so? Let’s explore this for a moment by asking five questions and seeking the answers in Psalm 86.
First, why did David, the psalmist, pray so fervently in Psalm 86 (I encourage you to pause, if you haven’t already, and read the entire psalm)? Why should we do the same?
David gives one powerfully persuasive reason in v. 5 when he says, “For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.” We are repeatedly exhorted in Scripture to “call” upon the Lord “in the day of trouble” (Ps. 50:15) and to “offer prayer” to him at a time when he may be found (Ps. 33:6) and to pour out our hearts before him.
It is stunning, is it not, that we have to be commanded to pray? The sick hardly need an exhortation to visit a doctor or the hungry a soup kitchen, yet we must be told repeatedly to avail ourselves of a God who stands ready to richly supply our need and draw near when we call.
David was also quick to pray because he was confident that God did not command him to do so in vain. In other words, he was assured that God commands prayer because he takes indescribable delight in giving answers. “In the day of my trouble,” said David, “I call upon you, for you answer me” (Ps. 86:7). “Call to me,” said God to Jeremiah, “and I will answer you, and tell you great and hidden things that you have not known” (Jer. 33:3). “When he [the believer] calls to me [God], I will answer him” (Ps. 91:15).
This isn’t to say the answer he gives is always the one we want (cf. 2 Cor. 12:7-10). But it is to say that it is always the answer we need!