Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

Psalm 25 is a psalm of David. But this is all we know about the historical background of this psalm. The psalm reads like the wisdom literature of Proverbs. In that sense, it compliments Psalm 1. Psalm 1 teaches there are two ways to live – the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked – and bids us to choose the right path. Psalm 25 is about how to walk right along the right path.

It was important for David to walk the right way along the right path because of his “enemies” (Psalm 25:2) who were “wantonly treacherous” (Psalm 25:3). Ruthless enemies dogged his path. David needed help and hope. He finds it in prayer: “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul” (Psalm 25:1).

This psalm is a prayer of confidence in God. As David seeks to walk right along the right path, he makes a God-honoring prayer with a God-centered focused based on a God-sized confidence (Psalm 25:4-5).

A God-Honoring Prayer

In verses 4-5, David makes three prayer requests: “make me” (v. 4), “teach me” (v. 4), and “lead me” (v. 5). David is on a dangerous path marked by treacherous enemies. Yet he does not pray for protection, deliverance, or victory. He prays for himself, rather than the situation. He asks the Lord to do something in him, not just something for him. This is the prayer of the believer who wants to walk right: “Lord, I know prayer changes things. But I need you to do more than change it; I need you to change me.”

A God-Centered Focused

David’s prayer is for himself but not about himself. He prays, “Make me, teach me, lead me.” But these personal requests have a God-centered focus: “Make me to know your ways, Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth…” (vv. 4-5) The focus of David’s prayer was the Lord: “your ways… your paths… your truth…” David’s primary concern was not his enemies – it was his Companion. David prayed to get closer to the Lord. This is what would help him walk right, even in the presence of his enemies. More importantly, you need to get closer to the Lord.

A God-Sized Confidence

God was David’s help: “…for you are the God of my salvation.” David’s help was not in his skill, knowledge, experience, resources, or connections. Only God could save him from the enemy who lurked on his path. And God was David’s hope: “…for you I wait all the day long.” This is not passive resignation. It is hopeful expectation. Only God could save David. And he refused to run ahead of the Lord. He was determined to wait on the Lord, even if it took all day. This is the believer’s confidence in the Lord. God alone is my help and my hope.

You must choose the right path. However, choosing the right path does not mean you are free to walk carelessly. The enemies of our soul – the flesh, the world, and the devil – pursue you to bring you down, lead you astray, and turn you around. With devotion to God, you must walk rightly as you walk the right path. That is, you must trust and obey the Lord Jesus Christ. To walk in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord, make this God-honoring prayer with a God-centered focus based on a God-sized confidence.

How does God's Word impact our prayers?

God invites His children to talk with Him, yet our prayers often become repetitive and stale. How do we have a real conversation with God? How do we come to know Him so that we may pray for His will as our own?

In the Bible, God speaks to us as His children and gives us words for prayer—to praise Him, confess our sins, and request His help in our lives.

We’re giving away a free eBook copy of Praying the Bible, where Donald S. Whitney offers practical insight to help Christians talk to God with the words of Scripture.