A Shopping List

Michael Wilcock

READ : Psalm 119:33-40

Fulfill your promise. (v. 38 NIV)

While Psalm 119 is almost 100 percent prayer, by no means is all of it petition. In many verses the psalmist is praising God, or simply talking to him. In this section, however, every verse is petitionary prayer. As we use the psalmist’s words, we are asking God for things; more specifically, asking him to do things, to cause things to happen.

So “teach me,” prays the psalmist, “give me understanding, direct me” – only God can do this for him. “Turn my heart towards what is good, and turn my eyes away from what is bad; make good your promise, and make my adversaries’ contempt of no effect; and preserve (or renew) my life.”

It’s quite a shopping list! Asking the Lord to do all these things – it might even seem that we were telling him to do them – isn’t that rather presumptuous?

No, because we are asking him to do what he wants to do anyway. We are like children who, instead of being taken up with their own agendas, are (for once!) happily involved in a family outing in which Dad and Mom and the kids are all of one mind. In praying like this we honor God, and we show our confidence that our prayers will be answered.


God, turn my eyes from what is bad, and my heart towards what is good.