Psalm 63

Morning Prayer

A Psalm by David, when he was in the desert of Judah.

1 God, you are my God.
I will earnestly seek you.
My soul thirsts for you.
My flesh longs for you,
in a dry and weary land, where there is no water.
2 So I have seen you in the sanctuary,
watching your power and your glory.
3 Because your loving kindness is better than life,
my lips shall praise you.
4 So I will bless you while I live.
I will lift up my hands in your name.
5 My soul shall be satisfied as with the richest food.
My mouth shall praise you with joyful lips,
6 when I remember you on my bed,
and think about you in the night watches.
7 For you have been my help.
I will rejoice in the shadow of your wings.
8 My soul stays close to you.
Your right hand holds me up.
9 But those who seek my soul, to destroy it,
shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
10 They shall be given over to the power of the sword.
They shall be jackal food.
11 But the king shall rejoice in God.
Everyone who swears by him will praise him,
for the mouth of those who speak lies shall be silenced.

World English Bible

What is your morning routine? How does prayer fit into that routine?

Have you ever noticed that activities done first thing in the morning become easily acquired habits, while those activities done later become sporadic? Wise people "front load" their day, so those activities they deem important will be accomplished. Of course, a wise person limits the number of activities in the morning, so they don't conflict with demanding time schedules.

What does the wise Christian do first thing in the morning? The obvious answer is prayer. But is the prayer merely habitual reaction or is it a deeply felt yearning for God that day?

Psalm 63 was a morning prayer that cried out for divine intimacy. The speaker in the psalm prayed for God to come close; he saw worship in the Temple as the highest activity in life.

Throughout the night, the psalmist would bless God (63:5 described both the Jewish form of blessing and the Jewish stance of blessing with arms outstretched); blessing itself was an activity on par with eating the finest feast. Even in the pre-dawn when the spirit was the weakest, the psalmist took comfort in the Lord's help.

The psalm ended with a prayer for the king. Even though enemies pursued the king, they would fail, for the trust of the king was in the Lord. (Notice the voice of the one praying 63:10-12 and the king seem to be the same.) These last verses and the desert tone of the psalm itself ( soul a lifeless, parched land without water) supported the spirit of the title: a psalm of David while he was in the wilderness.

Despite the title, the psalm acted as a dawn prayer in Temple worship. The priest in the early morning hour would praise God, while he anticipated the coming sacrifice and communion meal.

Prayer first thing in the morning is obviously a good idea, but that prayer should set the tone for the rest of the day. While such prayer is no guarantee for an anxiety free day, it can help put other activities and goals for the day in perspective.

As you place your day before God, give him praise and reflect on your need to give him praise.