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Prayer is an essential part of the Christian’s life, but sometimes we can come before God with a sense of having no idea how to pray or what to pray for. I always find the Psalms helpful in this respect, since they are the recorded prayers of God’s people and are useful in guiding us as to what and how to pray.

Psalm 20 is a psalm of David that offers us useful pointers for prayer. It gives us suggestions as to what we can pray for as we lift each other and our family and friends in prayer.

  1. Protection (‘May the name of the Lord protect you.’ Psalm 20:1) We can pray God will protect people as they travel, as they work and as they are involved in daily life, which is full of hazards and perils!

  2. Help (‘May He send you help from the sanctuary.’ Psalm 20:2) So often we face difficult situations and don’t know what to do, but divine help is always available to us. ‘Lord, help!‘ is a vital prayer.

  3. Support (‘May He grant you support from Zion.’ Psalm 20:2) Help and support are very similar, but sometimes we need that sense of God carrying us and giving us the lift we need in difficult circumstances.

  4. Acceptance (‘May He remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings.’ Psalm 20:3) All of us need the assurance of acceptance and the awareness of living under God’s blessing and approval. So many of us struggle with this whole question of acceptance and our works become a way of earning God’s favour. Ultimately, we need to remember that the sacrifice of Jesus means we don’t have to earn God’s favour, nor can we do so… because we already have it! When we live in this awareness, our work and efforts take on a whole new perspective.

  5. Success (‘May He give the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.’ Psalm 20:4) We know that God has good plans for our lives and often puts desires and yearnings in our hearts. We need to be people of vision and passion, not just drifting along but striving to do the good works God has designed for us (Eph 2:10). All of us need God’s breath on our plans for them to succeed not just for now but to last into eternity.

  6. Victory (‘May we shout for joy over your victory!’ Psalm 20:5) We need to stand with others in their joys and sorrows (Rom 12:15) and pray for victory – especially standing with people in their spiritual struggles and rejoicing when they see God’s salvation, help and deliverance.