David’s Remarkable Self-Designation Before God in Prayer

May 9, 2012

First Chronicles 17:16-27 records a marvelous prayer of David that he prayed after Nathan revealed to him (17:15) the wonderful things that God had ordained that He would do for him (17:3-14). In his prayer, David revealed his mindset before God by repeating a remarkable designation for himself ten times (17:17; 18 [2x]; 19; 23; 24; 25 [2x]; 26; 27):

1Ch 17:16 And David the king came and sat before the LORD, and said, Who am I, O LORD God, and what is mine house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?

17 And yet this was a small thing in thine eyes, O God; for thou hast also spoken of thy servant’s house for a great while to come, and hast regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree, O LORD God.

18 What can David speak more to thee for the honour of thy servant? for thou knowest thy servant.

19 O LORD, for thy servant’s sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all this greatness, in making known all these great things.

20 O LORD, there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

21 And what one nation in the earth is like thy people Israel, whom God went to redeem to be his own people, to make thee a name of greatness and terribleness, by driving out nations from before thy people, whom thou hast redeemed out of Egypt?

22 For thy people Israel didst thou make thine own people for ever; and thou, LORD, becamest their God.

23 Therefore now, LORD, let the thing that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant and concerning his house be established for ever, and do as thou hast said.

24 Let it even be established, that thy name may be magnified for ever, saying, The LORD of hosts is the God of Israel, even a God to Israel: and let the house of David thy servant be established before thee.

25 For thou, O my God, hast told thy servant that thou wilt build him an house: therefore thy servant hath found in his heart to pray before thee.

26 And now, LORD, thou art God, and hast promised this goodness unto thy servant:

27 Now therefore let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may be before thee for ever: for thou blessest, O LORD, and it shall be blessed for ever.

Though he was the God-appointed King (cf. 17:16), David never referred to himself as the king in his prayer. Instead, he spoke of himself exclusively with the designation, “thy servant.” This amazing emphasis on himself as God’s servant reveals the essence of his mindset in prayer.

Interestingly, the only reference to David in any recorded prayer of the apostles also features the same designation for him: “Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? (Acts 4:25).” Based on this NT statement, it may be that we, too, should keep in our minds David’s remarkable self-designation before God in prayer and cultivate such a mindset in our own prayers.

Update on 3/14/23: Acts 4:29 shows that Peter, John, and some other NT Christians did in fact refer to themselves as God’s servants on an at least one occasion when they prayed to Him:

Acts 4:29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.



Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.