Summary: A National Call To Pray!. PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:

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(1). Prayers to God (vs 1-5)

(2). Confidence in God (vs 6-8)

(3). Reliance on God (vs 9)



• On May 27, the German High Command announced:

• “The British army is encircled and our troops are proceeding to its annihilation”.

The Prime Minister Winston Churchill said:

“I thought, and some good judges agreed with me that perhaps 20,000 or 30,000 men might be re-embarked. The whole root and core and brain of the British army . . . seemed about to perish on the field or be led into captivity.”

• The previous Sunday May 26 1940,

• At the request of His Majesty King George VI,

• Had been set apart and observed as a National Day of Prayer.

• In a stirring broadcast, the King called the people of Britain and the empire;

• To commit their cause to God. The whole nation was at prayer.

• Three miracles then happened:

• Hitler stopped his general advance,

• a storm of extraordinary fury grounded the German Air Force on May 28th,

• a great calm settled over the English Channel for several days.

• Which allowed 338,000 men of the British army to be evacuated from Dunkirk!

• The success against the odds of the evacuation of 338,000 men;

• From the beaches of Dunkirk was widely regarded as a ‘miracle’.

• A ‘national day of prayer’ was called for by the King;

• More than once, in fact at several critical points during the war,

• TRANSITION: Verse 9: Is a call to the nation to pray:

• “Lord, give victory to the king! Answer us when we call!”

• This was an Old Testament instruction to dedicate themselves to the Lord.

• (Deuteronomy chapter 20 verses 1-4):

• In doing this they would remember that no matter how big the opposing army might be!

• It was the Lord who would grant them victory;

This psalm is a prayer written by David for such an occasion:

• Most commenters suggest that Psalm 20 and Psalm 21 go together as a pair;

Psalm 20 is mostly ceremony before a battle.

Psalm 21 is mostly celebration after a battle.

• This Psalm shows the value that David placed on prayer.

• David knew that prayer was his best weapon when he went into battle.

• And so, David gave the people of Israel who stayed behind a prayer to pray.

• And through this important work of prayer,

• Even those staying behind could share in the victory.


• Sam the local scoundrel shows up at a Church meeting, seeking help.

• He tells the pastor: "I need you to pray for my hearing,"

• The pastor puts his fingers on Sam’s ears and prays and prays and prays.

• When he’s done, he asks Sam, "How’s your hearing now?"

• Sam replies:

• "I don’t know, ‘cause I don’t go to court till next Tuesday."


• A more serious illustration regarding prayer from the life of Charles Spurgeon.

• Many years ago five young college students made their way to London;

• They wanted to hear the ‘Prince of preachers’ Charles Haddon Spurgeon preach.

• They arrived early at the Metropolitan Tabernacle,

• And they found the doors were still locked.

• As they waited on the steps of the Church;

• A man approached them and asked them:

• ‘Would you like to see the heating apparatus of this church?’

• That was not what they had come for, but rather than just sit on the steps bored;

• They agreed to go with him.

• The man led them into the building via a side-entrance,

• And down a long flight of stairs, and into a hallway.

• At the end of the hallway he opened a door into a large room;

• The room was filled with seven hundred people on their knees praying.

• ‘That,’ said their guide (who was none other than Spurgeon himself),

• ‘is the heating apparatus of this church’


• King David knew the importance of prayer;

• He knew the importance of a praying nation;

• So he encouraged the people of Israel who stayed behind a prayer to pray.

• So that together those who went to battle;

• And those staying behind could share in the victory.

• All leaders (even the great King David) need the prayers of God’s people.

• Because even the greatest leaders are subject to physical and spiritual trouble.

Quote: (Plumer, Studies in the Book of Psalms, pg. 272.)

"In all trouble, personal, domestic, or national, prayer is the best resort of high and low.

On earth no man is so afflicted, or forsaken, or beset by the wicked, that God cannot save him, and no man is so great as not to need help from on high."

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