Praying to the God Who Knows All

Bible Reading: Psalm 139

Some of you will likely remember this quote from A. W. Tozer I shared in a devotional I wrote way back at the beginning of the year: “What comes into your mind when you think about God is the most important thing about you.”  It’s important that we think rightly about God for a number of reasons, one of which is the demands of acceptable worship.  Worship is acknowledging God for who He is and what He does in what we say and what we do.  Acceptable worship is that which is in spirit and in truth, so it logically follows that we can only worship God in an acceptable manner to the extent that we are Spirit-led and our thoughts are rightly aligned to that which is revealed to us about God in His Holy Word.  Inasmuch as praying is an act of worship, it is imperative that our prayers are consistent to the truth of who He is.

One of the striking distinctions of this particular Psalm is that it constitutes a prayer, but not in the sense that we generally think of prayer.  It is indeed a prayer, for note how David addressed God throughout.  But praise of God dominates, and the requests are few. 

The focus of the Psalm is on the omniscience and omnipresence of God, but not in a dry, academic sense.  In addressing God, David spoke of these attributes in a personal way, in the manner in which they related to his life.  So, with respect to God’s omniscience, David understood that God knows us, our activities, our thoughts, and all our ways.  God’s omniscience is such that He knows what we are going to say before we say it!  He’s before us and behind us and has His hand on us.  And in contemplating such lofty truths, David said: “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it” (Psalm 139:6).  In His instruction to His disciples regarding prayer, Jesus said: “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:7-8).  Indeed!  When we pray, we are praying to a God who knows all about us and is intimately involved in every aspect of our lives!

David moved on from his consideration of God’s omniscience to his omnipresence, acknowledging the impossibility of being anywhere or going anywhere where God isn’t.  Heaven or sheol, the sky or the sea, darkness or day, it mattered not.  David worshiped God in that reality, knowing that wherever he might be, God’s hand was there to lead him and to hold him.   As David considered his own body, he realized that it was God who had knitted him together, and that he was fearfully and wonderfully made.  And David’s very life was in God’s hands, as God had written in His book the days that were formed for David, before he even existed.  The very contemplation of such things led to a shout out of praise regarding the loftiness and sum of God’s thoughts (Psalm 139:17-18)!

And then there are two requests.  The first is much debated for David calls on God to “slay the wicked” (Psalm 139:19).  This is akin to imprecatory language used elsewhere in the Psalms.  Before we adopt this kind of thinking with respect to how we relate to our enemies, we should keep in mind that David was the King, and reigned in a precursory role to the coming Messiah.  We do well to leave the dealings with the wicked to the One who will one day judge all men.  The other request was for God to search David’s heart.  And that’s quite a request!  I served with a fellow elder who frequently closed his prayers by quoting verses 23-24.  You know all things, God, and here’s my heart.  Feel free to search around.  And while You are at it–here’s my thoughts.  Check them out.  See if there be anything contrary to Your will and Your ways, and “lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:24)!  What a prayer!  Be encouraged by David’s example to pray the attributes of God, praising God for who He is, and mindful of how that relates to you.

Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart!


Search me, O God, and know my heart today;
Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray.
See if there be some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from ev’ry sin and set me free.

I praise thee, Lord, for cleansing me from sin;
Fulfill thy Word, and make me pure within.
Fill me with fire where once I burned with shame;
Grant my desire to magnify thy name.

Lord, take my life and make it wholly thine;
Fill my poor heart with thy great love divine.
Take all my will, my passion, self, and pride;
I now surrender; Lord, in me abide.

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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