Friday, January 27, 2012

Psalm 101 – The Prayer of Recommitment

“I will sing of loyalty and of justice;

to you, O Lord, I will sing.”

~Psalm 101:1 (NRSV)

Perhaps a dozen or more times I have recommitted my faith before God; once so seriously it literally upended my life—from nearly 13 years of trying hard to live faithfully (and failing dismally in that) overnight I discovered grace. The difference between before and after was like chalk and cheese. Yet, there have been other times when the process of recommitment was just as significant, albeit less sweeping change took place; they were nudges along my journey.

Reading Psalm 101, which is a Royal psalm, we get the distinct impression that David has had enough of his own double standards—repulsed as he is, it seems, by his sin—and takes the direct and desperate step to start afresh with God in this prayer.

The Nature Of David’s Problems

It is necessary before we plunge into discussion regarding prayers of recommitment that we learn a little of the King’s distressing context.

David, with little doubt, was beset by a political world frequently beyond him—having court and duty with many he found he couldn’t trust, as well as dealing with other monarchs and political leaders that didn’t share David’s faith and allegiance to the Lord. It might have been like a recovering alcoholic having to enter a bar every day in order to do their work. It is difficult to lead a pious life in a secular world.

We can therefore sense this was probably not the first recommitment David made and it wouldn’t have been his last.

David’s Recommitments And Ours

We might reasonably ask, what is the substance of recommitment?

David commences no less than eight lines of the psalm with the promise, “I will.” Nothing is more of a recommitment than such a plain pledge. There are also three other direct vows (verses 3b, 7-8), bringing the total of renewed caveats to eleven.

We might get the impression, though, that such an exhaustive list of pledges reveals many things from the depth of David’s self-enquiry, to the extent of his repugnance for his sin, to the sheer weightiness of such a list of promises—if we made eleven such promises we might be daunted by our ability to carry through and deliver on each promise.

The latter issue is the key; ardent recommitments, when prayed ultra seriously, carry the burden for change. We would only despise ourselves if we failed to keep the strength of the recommitment. One recommitment is enough for anyone. Yet, with God, anything is possible (Luke 1:37).

The burden of recommitment is supported only by practical changes in our modus operandi. We can only presume that David implemented sweeping change, at a Kingdom level, having stated so fervently his recommitments.

Understanding The Role Of Grace Within Recommitment

Whilst burden is our portion of the work within recommitment, our Lord runs forward of us by his portion of grace.

Sanctification is the process we speak of here; the gradual refining of our characters in order that we might meet the will of God within the lives God has placed us in. Not all the real work is borne by us; grace is the ever-powerful component sponsoring the ardency of our efforts.

The Lord, here, looks to the sincerity underpinning our recommitment and adds grace in proportion. God is not hard to please here—there will most certainly be an abundance of power that will go with us into this next part of the journey to the extent of our earnestness.


Recommitting to God empowers faith by our sincerity combined with God’s grace. The power within grace will not delay—and it is great, that power! New life flourishes amid recommitment.

© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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