Best of Daily Reflections: A Time of Favor
But I keep praying to you, LORD, hoping this time you will show me favor. In your unfailing love, O God, answer my prayer with your sure salvation.
Psalm 69 is David’s passionate cry for divine help. He has been sinking into the mire of trouble. Some is the result of his own sin (69:5), while much of David’s difficulty stems from the evil of his opponents (69:4). Even though people laugh at him for his consistent yearning for God (69:10-12), David persists in praying to the Lord, “hoping this time you will show me favor” (69:13).
The Hebrew expression behind this line is a peculiarly brief one. It reads, literally, “a time of favor or acceptance” ('et ratzon). David yearns for such a time, when God will finally answer his prayers. He realizes there is nothing he can do to make this time of favor come, other than remain faithful in seeking the Lord.
All of us go through seasons like this, when we are desperate for God’s help and when we pray without ceasing, but also without apparent response. Like David in Psalm 69, we can pray, “Don’t hide from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in deep trouble” (69:17). Yet we can feel as if God is hiding from us, and his answers come anything but quickly.
Thus we echo Psalm 69 in asking for a time of favor. We pray. We wait. We hope. Sometimes we doubt, filled with despair. But we continue to ask the Lord for a season of mercy. In those times, the Psalms offer encouragement that keep us going. We see that our struggles are not new, but have been found among God’s people for centuries. Reminded that God’s times are not our times and that his ways are not our ways, we persist in prayer, basing our hope on the goodness and grace of God. In time, his time of favor, he will do what’s best for us.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: As you think back upon your life, are there times that you might call “times of favor”? What happened in these times? How were you experiencing God’s grace and mercy? What helps you to keep praying when you are desperate and God seems far away?
PRAYER: O Lord, I can think of so many times when I prayed in the mode of Psalm 69: desperate and tired, yet persistent and hopeful. How often have I cried out to you for a time of favor. And how often have you blessed me with just such a time. Thank you, gracious God, for your astounding faithfulness and mercy.
This psalm reminds me to pray for people in my life—and in this world—who are seeking a time of favor in their lives. I think of friends who have had such long battles with serious illness, or who continue to wonder if they’ll have enough money to get through the next month. I think of those whose children have gone astray, or who have recently lost loved ones. For these friends, and for others like them throughout this globe, I pray for a time of favor. Hear their prayers, Lord! Make known to them your love and grace...even today! Amen.