In this section of the great Psalm 119, the writer prays a prayer of sanctification. He goes before God not to ask for material blessing, or for help in circumstance, but for a transformation that leads to a greater submission to God. The psalmist asks God to teach him, to grant him understanding, to change the direction of his heart, and his gaze, to confirm God’s promise to him, and to turn away reproach. It is a prayer of holiness.
In order to please God, there must be an understanding of God’s desires, and how God wishes us to live. Scripture grants us the basis of this knowledge, but it is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can understand all that God has for us, and only through hearing His voice that we learn how God wants us specifically to live. As we walk by faith, God leads us down paths of righteousness.
The psalmist also prays for a heart change. “Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain.” Our human desires are often self-serving. It is through the transformative power of God that changes our nature to be like Him, and it is closeness with Him that molds our desires to His will, and draws our heart to His words and ways. This process must come with a turning away from the things of the world. “Worthless things” – be that shallow entertainment, the drama of current events, or simple natural pleasures, must never compete with our attention to God. Our eyes must be fixed on the things that are eternal. In our walk with God, we are also granted promises, both from the Word, and personally. It is a renewed faith in these promises that leads us in faith through trial and storm, and brings us into what God has for us, and in the end, eternal life.
As we speak with God, he confirms His word to us, and grants us a blessed assurance of things to come. All of these requests come from a heart that is seeking after God. It is a prayer that desires a greater surrender to God and His ways. It is through God’s answer to our prayers of sanctification that we reach purity and maturity in Him. As you long for Him and His presence today, may your prayers be answered, and may God transform you into a more perfect and faithful servant.