Prayer for Guidance
Psalm 5:1–12; John 12:1–19
When we feel downtrodden, it’s easy to lash out at those around us. Too often, caught in the injustice of it all, we might begin to feel an unhealthy amount of self-justification. It’s difficult to see where the lines of right and wrong fall when anger and hurt overwhelm us.
The psalmist presents an alternative to this: turning to the God of justice for guidance, protection, and insight. Psalm 5 records a heartfelt cry. This cry is directed at the God who acts justly in a world where evil seems to win (something not always easy to comprehend). Before making a judgment, the psalmist says, “I will set forth my case to you and I will watch” (Psa 5:3). Rather than push forward with his own agenda, he calls out for God’s justice because Yahweh is “not a God who desires wickedness” (Psa 5:4).
The psalmist acknowledges God’s sovereignty and love, which is the basis for his confidence: “through the abundance of your steadfast love I will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in awe of you” (Psa 5:7). Before calling out the evil actions of his enemies, he prays for direction: “lead me in your righteousness because of my enemies; make straight before me your way” (Psa 5:8). The psalmist prays; then, he acts with God’s justice in view.
In John 12, we find another scenario where justice is brought into question. Judas expresses disapproval when Mary uses expensive oil to anoint Jesus, since it could have been used for the poor. Although Jesus advocates for the poor throughout His ministry, He defends Mary’s actions. Jesus is the focus and center of all faith, and Mary’s priorities are exactly where they should be.
How can you pray for guidance in a world that often seems cold and uncaring? How can you trust God to lead you to act in ways that please Him?