fbpx

            Many of us in the military learn how to zero our primary weapon system. In the case of the M4/M16 you zero the front sight post by getting it flush with the front sight post housing. You also must align the rear sight and assembly to the proper distance and windage. Why do you usually zero a weapon? One reason is if it is newly assigned to you or your unit, you want to get it back to zero so that you can adjust it for the operator. A weapon that is not adjusted to the individual operator tends to miss the mark no matter how hard you aim. Prayer can be thought of as adjusting your sights. The processes of praying is taking you as the weapon system and adjusting your sights to the Operator in order to hit what He wants you to hit.

            The reality is we all pray, Christians and non-Christians all pray at times.[1] Prayer and forms of prayer are found all over the world and all cultures. Just like a weapon system will still fire if not sighted in properly we all shoot off prayers mostly hitting nothing. However, the solution is not to fire off more shots and hope for a hit, your drill sergeant would destroy you for that, the solution is to zero your sights and learn how to pray. Who better to learn how to pray than from a real warrior?

King David of ancient Israel was a powerful and ruthless warrior. He is well known for his warrior skills he also was called a man after God’s own heart.[2] If you read a summary of his life you will find a man who conquered enemy army’s, fought one-on-one with men bigger and stronger than him. You will find a man who suffered massive defeats. A man who lost friends and family in battle. A man who betrayed and was betrayed by brothers-in-arms.

David also wrote many of what are called Psalms. The Psalms have been a prayer book and song book for Christians for over two thousand years. What I love about the Psalms is that they speak the language of the heart, they align my sights with the Creator.

When I am depressed beyond words, they give me the words to pray.

For my soul is full of troubles,

and my life draws near to Sheol.

        4     I am counted among those who go down to the pit;

I am a man who has no strength,

        5     like one set loose among the dead,

like the slain that lie in the grave,

like those whom you remember no more,

for they are cut off from your hand.

        6     You have put me in the depths of the pit,

in the regions dark and deep. [3]

or

16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,

for I am lonely and afflicted.

       17     The troubles of my heart are enlarged;

bring me out of my distresses.

       18     Consider my affliction and my trouble,

and forgive all my sins. [4]

When I am anxious, I can pray these words inspired by God back to God.

        6     This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him

and saved him out of all his troubles.

        7     The angel of the Lord encamps

around those who fear him, and delivers them.

        8     Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!

Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

        9     Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,

for those who fear him have no lack! [5]

When in pain I can cry out with David,

        1     Give ear to my prayer, O God,

and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy!

        2     Attend to me, and answer me;

I am restless in my complaint and I moan,

        3     because of the noise of the enemy,

because of the oppression of the wicked.

For they drop trouble upon me,

and in anger they bear a grudge against me.

        4     My heart is in anguish within me;

the terrors of death have fallen upon me.

        5     Fear and trembling come upon me,

and horror overwhelms me. [6]

This is just a snapshot of the treasure chest that are the Psalms. What I want to focus on is how you can pray the Psalms in your own life. There is no right way to do this, this is just a way I have found to be helpful in my life.

Start with your Bible. Find the book of Psalms (you can go to the first few pages of your Bible and find an index of all the books in your Bible, find the page number and turn to the Psalms).

Now that you are at the Psalms each one is numbered with a big number that are called chapters and the smaller numbers are verses.

For our purposes lets choose Psalm 1. Now grab a journal or piece of paper (I like a journal so I can keep all my prayers together). As you read through the Psalm slowly.

Ps 1:1 Blessed is the man

who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,

nor stands in the way of sinners,

nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

        2     but his delight is in the law of the Lord,

and on his law he meditates day and night.

        3     He is like a tree

planted by streams of water

that yields its fruit in its season,

and its leaf does not wither.

In all that he does, he prospers.

        4     The wicked are not so,

but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

        5     Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

        6     for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,

but the way of the wicked will perish. [7]

I then take one verse at a time and reword it as a prayer, I write on my paper the verse number and my rewritten prayer. For example, verse 1 of Psalm 1:

“Blessed is the man

who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,

nor stands in the way of sinners,

nor sits in the seat of scoffers;”

Now I write something like this:

            “God, You, bless the man that walks in your way, I pray that you protect me from wicked and wrong counsel, I pray that I do not get comfortable enough to hang around and join in with those who sin against You.”

Now for verse two:

       “2     but his delight is in the law of the Lord,

and on his law he meditates day and night.”

“God help me to delight in your Bible, the things that you wrote in this book for me. I pray that you will teach me how to think about these things day and night”

Let’s pause for a minute and you try it.

What you are going to find is that some verses are easier to pray than others, that is ok for now you can either read it and not write anything or you can write “Pray for understanding.”

What I like to do is read five chapters a day and choose one that I feel like praying.

            Commit to doing this for a month. What you will find is you are slowly aligning your sights, your heart, to be used by God the Creator for the purpose He intended you to be used for. Just like basic marksmanship there is much more to the Christian life but getting your weapon sighted in, that is your first priority. Continue to align your life to God’s priorities through prayer and the reading of His Word. You will miss the center of the target often tighten your shot group and continue to get strong in prayer.

“May your target always be God’s target, and I pray you hit it every time”

-Matthew Statler, U.S. Army (Ret)


[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2004/02_february/26/world_god.shtml

[2] 1 Samuel 13:14

[3] Ps 88:3–6.

[4] Ps 25:16–18.

[5] Ps 34:6–9.

[6] Ps 55:1–5.

[7] Ps 1:1–6.