Cave Prayers

Jon Burgess

Then I pray to you, OLord.
I say, “You are my place of refuge.
You are all I really want in life.
Psalm 142:5

Before we read the heart-wrenching prayers of David in Psalm 142 we are given some essential context: "A Maschilof David, regarding his experience in the cave. A prayer." A maschilis an instruction. David is passing on to others the lessons he learned on his knees in the cave. From the lowest place, he found Heavenly peace. From the loneliest place, he found the Savior's place. Most likely he wrote these prayers from the cave of Adullam mentioned in 1 Samuel 22:1. He has just had to say goodbye to his best friend Jonathan as King Saul's murderous plans had been made abundantly clear. To make matters worse he feared what King Achish of Gath might do to him. With nowhere to run or find refuge, he finds a cave. As the those downcast, discontent and in debt began to make their way to this cave David taught them the best way forward was on their knees. He had been anointed to be King but he was stuck in a cave. He had been called to rule all of Israel but was now the captain of malcontents. Instead of castles, he has been given a cave. Here's the beauty of this prayer- the streams of helpless and hopelessness converge with fresh surrender and powerful perspective. All David wants is the presence of God. If God is with him then David has everything he needs.


Cave prayers bring us to a place of fresh surrender and powerful perspective. Success, accolades, even the fulfillment of God-given dreams all get laid down at the feet of Jesus. It's only when Jesus is all we have that we realize Jesus is all we need. David is giving me a powerful leadership lesson today. Do my family and my staff and my church hear the castle prayers or the cave prayers? Do they see me only on the mountain or do they see me in the moments of weakness? Do I perpetuate an image of perfect readiness? Am I willing to admit I don't have the answer and must wait on God in prayer? What do I desire more? The presence of the Lord or the perfect image? The presence of the Lord or the applause of people? Cave prayers are real prayers. No lights, no spin, no way out but through prayer. In fact, it's cave prayers that prepare us best for what's next. They reduce us to the lowest common denominator and the clearest focus- all I need is Jesus!


Lord, I pray that You scrub my motives and my heart. Show me places where I desired position and power more than Your presence. Let me be a leader on my knees. Let me never lose my desperation for You and Your presence.

Devotions for April 27

2 Samuel 2
1 Chronicles 11
Psalm 142
Matthew 14

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