Psalm 86

Talks for Growing Christians

A Great Model Prayer of David

Psalm 86

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Lesson Number 63

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Biblical praying acknowledges the attributes of God.
  2. Biblical praying affirms the authority of Scripture.
  3. Biblical praying anticipates the advent of Christ.

Practical Application

  1. Pray for a united heart!


  1. What is unique about Psalm 86?
  2. How is Psalm 86 structured like a sandwich?
  3. How are the three titles for God in this Psalm translated in English translations?
  4. Which verse in Psalm 86 is Messianic?
  5. What did David mean by a “united heart” in verse 11?


  1. Psalm 86 is the only psalm of David in Book 3 of the Psalms. Book 3 includes Psalms 73 through 89.
  2. The opening verses (1-7) and closing verses (14-17) are petitions, but the middle verses (8-13) are filled with praise and thanksgiving. Call it a worship sandwich!
  3. Elohim – God; Yahweh or Jehovah – LORD, Adonai – Lord
  4. Verse 9 – here David prophetically looks forward to the time when all nations will worship the Lord and glorify His name.
  5. David prayed for an undivided heart or singleness of heart that was not distracted away from the Lord by all the other interests in life. Interests are not necessarily bad in themselves, but take time and energy away from what should be the main focus in a believers’ life, namely the Lord and His kingdom.


  1. In Psalm 86, the name of God appears 16 times, consisting of three divine titles: Elohim, Yahweh or Jehovah, and Adonai. Review what these different names of God reveal about different attributes and aspects of His character.
  2. Have you quoted Scripture in your prayers? These are the promises and truths of the Word of God. Discuss how you could integrate more Scripture into your prayer life.


  1. Will you, like David, pray for a united heart?

Key Verses

  • “For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.” Psalm 86:5
  • “Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.” Psalm 86:11
  • “Oh, turn to me, and have mercy on me! Give Your strength to Your servant.” Psalm 86:16

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