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a Bible passage

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I rise before dawn and cry for help;

I put my hope in your words.

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147 I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word.   148 Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.

David goes on here to relate how he had abounded in the duty of prayer, much to his comfort and advantage: he cried unto God, that is, offered up to him his pious and devout affections with all seriousness. Observe,

I. The handmaids of his devotion. The two great exercises that attended his prayers, and were helpful to them, were, 1. Hope in God's word, which encouraged him to continue instant in prayer, though the answer did not come immediately: "I cried, and hoped that at last I should speed, because the vision is for an appointed time, and at the end it will speak and not lie. I hoped in thy word, which I knew would not fail me." 2. Meditation in God's word. The more intimately we converse with the word of God, and the more we dwell upon it in our thoughts, the better able we shall be to speak to God in his own language and the better we shall know what to pray for as we ought. Reading the word will not serve, but we must meditate in it.

II. The hours of his devotion. He anticipated the dawning of the morning, nay, and the night-watches. See here, 1. That David was an early riser, which perhaps contributed to his eminency. He was none of those that say, Yet a little sleep. 2. That he began the day with God. The first thing he did in the morning, before he admitted any business, was to pray, when his mind was most fresh and in the best frame. If our first thoughts in the morning be of God they will help to keep us in his fear all the day long. 3. That his mind was so full of God, and the cares and delights of his religion, that a little sleep served his turn. Even in the night-watches, when he awaked from his first sleep, he would rather meditate and pray than turn himself and go to sleep again. He esteemed the words of God's mouth more than his necessary repose, which we can as ill spare as our food, Job xxiii. 12. 4. That he would redeem time for religious exercises. He was full of business all day, but that will excuse no man from secret devotion; it is better to take time from sleep, as David did, than not to find time for prayer. And this is our comfort, when we pray in the night, that we can never come unseasonably to the throne of grace; for we may have access to it at all hours. Baal may be asleep, but Israel's God never slumbers, nor are there any hours in which he may not be spoken with.