Centuries later, the Apostle Paul will write: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” Psalm 20 is just such a prayer. In fact, Psalms 20 and 21 may go together. this psalm being a prayer in behalf of the king, and psalm 21 being a prayer of thanksgiving for prayer answered.
Psalm 20 comes to life when you imagine the king going out to battle. He is dressed for conflict. His soldiers stand before him. They have said their good-byes – in their minds, perhaps for the final time. Gathered for prayer, the priest prays for their success (vss. 1 – 5). The king responds in verses 6 – 8 with a rousing voice of confidence in the triumph God will give. In unison, the whole gathering calls on God’s protection for them all.
I’m writing this a few days after the terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon in 2013. As our world becomes more and more afraid due to terrorists on every side, Christians have something to offer: an unbridled confidence in God, courage because of His assurances, and a positive spirit. We know the future. As the king’s army, in confident prayer, marched out none-the-less with the armaments of war, we too will have metal detectors, security forces and weaponry of every kind on every side. It’s just the smart way to live. But what we as Christians should NOT have is fear. While the elements of security are around us, our trust is in God. He will take care of us and see us safe, or He will bring us to His home where nothing harmful can ever touch us again. That trust should be seen in our constant prayers for those in authority, that we may live quiet and peaceful lives in this present time, knowing that only God can give this kind of tranquility.