When God determined that time would be marked by days He gave His creation not only sleep to enjoy the night hours, but also the beauty of sunrise to usher in the morning. At that hour His compassions are seen afresh, declaring His faithfulness (Lam 3.22-23), and to those beset by trouble and sorrow it is a reminder that "weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning" (Ps 30.5). David prayed three times per day (Ps 55.17) as did Daniel (Dan 6.10). For them the joy of the presence of the Lord and the liberty that they felt to seek his presence morning, noon, and evening should challenge our hearts. How often do we pray?
Prayer is a difficult discipline to master, but if we follow the example of the morning and evening sacrifices we should, despite the pressures of daily life, seek at least twice daily to lift our voices to heaven. Quite apart from this, we can pray as Nehemiah did when faced with the unexpected. He "prayed to the God of heaven. And said unto the king" (Neh 2.4-5).
Psalm 5 is a morning prayer, having been preceded in Psalm 4 by an evening prayer. The prayer life of David was marked by confidence. He knew the Lord to be the God who listens (vv.1-7) and the shepherd who leads (vv.8-12). "In the morning will I direct my prayer into thee", he declared, seeking to give the Lord the first part of each day (v.3). The word "direct" is used of the laying in order of the wood (Lev 1.7) and the sacrifice on the altar (Lev 1.8,12). Just as the first priestly act of each day was to place the morning sacrifice upon the altar, so Davids first act was to lift His heart in thankfulness to the Lord. His prayer did not consist of thoughtless expressions used without consideration. This was, in reality, an act of worship as his prayers ascended.
His desire was that the Lord would "give ear", that is, that He would listen to the prayer; that He would "consider", that is, that He would understand and attend to the prayer; that He would "hearken" and respond. Before praying, therefore, he prepared with thoughtful consideration, having in mind that the first responsibility of the morning was to turn with thankfulness to the One who had caused him to rest in safety through the darkened hours. His prayer was an offering given out of a full heart. Although not a priest after the order of Aaron, he could bring his prayer to the Lord with priestly appreciation.
The words that came from his lips (v.2) were also a cry for help and protection. How many have raised such a cry? Beset by anxiety, enemies, and circumstances that have seemed insurmountable they have raised their voices in crying to the Lord to meet their need and overcome their enemies. The prayer was, therefore, marked by anxious supplication. The burden of our troubles may lie heavily upon us, but let that not diminish our desire to raise them before Him.
But it should never be forgotten that David prayed with confidence, stating, "My voice shalt thou hear" (v.3). There was no tremor of doubt in his words, no shadow of uncertainty darkened his heart, no thought of failure clouded his mind. His prayer would be heard as he bowed with earnest expectation that his words would not be lost. The godly need never fear that their pleas are ignored (Heb 5.7). Let us not expect "feelings" that our prayers have been heard. The Word of God makes no such promise, but if we seek godliness and devotion to the Lord there is no need of any "feeling" or "sign". We have His promise that He hears. What need we more!
It must, however, not be missed that his prayer was one of upward contemplation expressed in the words, "I (will) direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up" (v.3). How good and helpful it is to keep "looking up" above "the present distress" (1 Cor 7.26). In "looking" up the prayerful saint is waiting to see what the Lord will do, showing that reliance is on Him alone. Let us, therefore, seek to set aside each morning, no matter how busy, some time, no matter how short, to direct our prayer unto Him so that we also can look up as the duties of the day crowd in, content that all is in His control.