Calling for fire in a military context requires confidence that that the headquarters being called for assistance can and will provide what is needed. It also requires caution. The caller must communicate accurately the nature of the request, the correct location of the enemy to be attacked (if that is the nature of the call), and the type of fire needed. He or she may also want to note the location of friendly troops that must not be attacked. The person calling for fire also needs to coordinate with allies and plan his own movements so that the counterattack brought about by the call for fire will not kill friendly forces.
Psalm 85 is a prayer for restoration of God’s people. The psalmist prays, “Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away your indignation toward us!” and “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation” (Ps. 85:4, 6-7). The latter part of the psalm reveals his confidence that God can restore his people: “Yes, the LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. Righteous will go before him and make his footsteps a way” ((Ps. 85:12-13). God has capability to rescue his people.
In the midst of the prayer, the psalmist acknowledges his responsibility when the Lord acts in response to his call, “Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly. Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land” (Psalm 85:8-9). If he prays for God to rescue him, he must act faithfully toward God. He must cease acting as if there is no God will hold him accountable. He must not place himself in the area targeted for attack by his own prayer.
When we pray, we must assess ourselves and how we stand before God. If I pray with anger and pride a request that God will punish the angry and proud, I’m praying for judgment against myself. When we pray, we need to listen to what God has said as well.
O God who restores when we repent, Help us to see ourselves accurately. Cure the spiritual astigmatism that distorts how we see ourselves and our world. Your love and compassion give us hope. May we not waste that hope by ignoring your will. Give us courage to act for righteousness and justice; give us the humility to listen and learn. Revive us again, that we may rejoice in you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.