But as for me, I trust in you. (Psalm 55:23)

Betrayer by Ahithophel, his most trusted friend, King David was distraught. The rebellion of his son Absalom was threatening his kingdom, and now the betrayal of Ahithophel came straight into his heart. Psalm 55 is David’s emotional prayer to God in the midst of anguish. He first longed for wings so he could fly away to the desert and be at peace. We are so much like David. When faced with betrayal, criticism, or persecution, the temptation to flee the situation comes quickly and powerfully upon us.

Next, David prayed to God for vengeance: “Let death take my enemies by surprise” (v. 15). Again, like David, we crave for those who have wronged us to be punished and come to open shame for their hurtful actions. So deeply are we injured that we are tempted to take the matter into our own hands and retaliate. It’s helpful to remember that, as David did, we too should take these feelings to God in honest prayer. Suppressing our feelings and pretending we are above these temptations will not help us. God wants honesty.

Finally, at the end of the prayer, God graciously met David’s honesty and strengthened his heart. As a result, David could pray, “But as for me, I trust in you” (v. 23). Ultimately, when we’re faced with distress, trusting in God is a very powerful response. “The prayer of a righteous [person] is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).

Practice complete honesty in prayer.

Bill Beck lives in the Black Hills with his wife, daughter, and dog. He and his wife have two grown sons.