“But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth; I humbled my soul with fasting, and my prayer kept returning to my bosom.” (Psalm 35:13)
Can you remember a time when a prayer you were prayingfor someone was so urgent, that your heart returned to it over and over? Perhaps a loved one was driving home on a stormy evening, or their life was hanging by a thread in ICU. The prayer that you prayed was not a one-time “God bless so-and-so”, but a desperate cry which your heart kept repeating until the crisis was over.
This is the kind of prayer that David describes here in Psalm 35. He says his prayer for these people (who repaid him with evil for his good, though that is not the main point here) “kept returning to my bosom.” His prayer for them was not just a one-time thing; he kept lifting it up to the Lord every time they came to mind, which was evidently often. It “kept returning to my bosom.”
This is how we should pray for those on our hearts. Don’t just pray once in the morning and let it go; let your prayer “keep returning to your bosom” all through the day. This is the “spontaneous prayer” Charles Spurgeon spoke of; the “keep on asking” prayer of Matthew 7:7; the “fervent” prayer of James 5:16, the “persevering” prayer of Ephesians 6:18.
When we learn to let our prayers “keep returning to our bosom,” it is a big step towards learning to “pray without ceasing” as I Thessalonians 5:17 teaches us. For when our prayer keeps “returning … and returning … and returning” to our bosom, soon we may find that it never leaves!