The cultural narrative that surrounds us is continually encouraging us to pursue our individual concerns and place ourselves at the heart of our world and our story. Apple has given us the iPhone, the iPad and iTunes, Burger King tells us to Have it our way,” and the selfie’ has become emblematic of the me-centred script of society.

This self-centredness can all too often spill over into our posture before God. We can make careless statements like, I didn’t get much out of the worship in the service today.” Our prayers can be focused solely on our needs and desires. The Lord Almighty can become the Lord All-matey” and treated as a divine butler or cosmic therapist.

It is against this backdrop that we read the Psalmist at the beginning of today’s Song of Ascent ask God to remember David and all his self-denial. Of all the accolades the writer could ascribe to David and bring before the Lord; his leadership, his godly heart, the accomplishments of a king and warrior, it is his self-denial that he chooses to highlight. As with other references to David in the Old Testament, Christians see here a foreshadowing of a greater self-denial, of David’s Lord who, though he was rich, for our sake became poor (2 Corinthians 8:9).

To be a Christian is likewise to count our needs, our desires and our priorities as secondary to those of Christ. Jesus explains that if anyone is to come after him, he is to deny himself, take up his cross and follow” (Mark 8:34). Paul says of his own experience of laying down his rights, I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

At this time of a General Election, many will campaign, consider and vote out of self-interest, fundamentally asking the question, what is best for me?’ Let us pray today that whatever the result, that God’s Kingdom comes and His will is done. May our posture be a countercultural denial of self and an allegiance first and foremost to the kingdom of heaven and the person of Jesus. May we be more passionate about our faith than any other cause, political or otherwise.

As we observe political parties jostling for attention, social media selfies and the incessant escalation of a me-first’ culture, let this Psalm remind us to deny ourselves, prefer others and pray with John the Baptist, He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30). As you see politicians, advertisers, sports stars and media personalities compete for attention and influence, may it remind you of the king of Israel who denied himself, and the King of the world who stooped to wash feet. Let their example inspire you to pray prayers that put others first and elevate the priorities of God’s Kingdom above your own. May we pray with Jesus today, Not my will, but yours.’

For a reminder to pray for those who have no voice at this election, do read this article.