Problems can vary, but solution is changeless – Prayer.
Have you ever called out to God and received no response? Have you felt as though God has turned a deaf ear towards you? King David of Israel did. In Psalm 13 David recorded his intense frustration with God’s silence during a time of deep need and gave us a model of prayer to follow when we feel as he did.
Interestingly, David did not provide the specifics of his emergency call to God, so we don’t know if it was precipitated by illness or another form of trouble. We do know that God’s unresponsiveness was agonizing. “Time itself becomes a destructive force, wearing down a man’s ability to hold out and intensifying the suffering to an inhuman level.”
The silence of God does not mean the absence of God. “David resolved to trust that the sovereign God whom he served was at work behind the scenes, despite His perceived absence. How long, Lord, do I have to live with this chronic illness? How long, Lord, will I have to remain unemployed? How long, Lord, before you give us a child? When we, like David, are faced with what seems to be unresponsive silence from God – we should follow David’s example: Pour out to God the details of the problem; pray asking Him for a response; and praise Him for who He is despite how we feel in the midst of our circumstances.
God has a purpose for everything, even what appears to be His silence. Yet He promises He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5).
Historically, God gives three answers to His people; yes, no, and wait. As the absolute Sovereign of the universe, He does what He wants when He wants for whatever reason He wants and for His own purpose. Throughout history, devout, praying people in horrendous situations did not receive their desired answers.
Today millions of deeply distressed people pray fervently to God in their times of need. They may be in difficult relationships, have disastrous finances, or suffer painful health problems. Yet they see no evidence of an answer to their prayers. Even the Lord Jesus Christ prayed specifically to His Father, “If it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” (Lk. 22:42).
So why pray at all? If God does what He wants to do, what purpose does praying serve?
We pray because it demonstrates our relationship with God. Christians often describe themselves as having “a personal relationship with God.” Such a relationship revolves around communication. God speaks to us through His Word, and we speak to Him through our lips and mind. If we don’t listen (read His Word) or speak (pray), the relationship breaks down.
We pray because God commands it: “Pray without ceasing” (1 Th. 5:17). Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:6-7).
Complying with Jewish tradition, the prophet Daniel prayed three times a day regardless of the circumstances (Dan. 6:12-13). God wants His people to pray.
When we pray we admit that life is not “all about me.” The apostle Paul wrote, Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peace able life in all godliness and reverence (1 Tim. 2:1-2).
We pray because it strengthens our faith. Seeing firsthand God’s provision through answered prayer strengthens our inner man. Jesus said, “When you pray, go into your room and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly” (Mt. 6:6). We pray to the one “who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20).
We pray because He always answers, one way or another: Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him (1 Jn. 5:14-15). And that is another reason we pray: to praise God for who He is and to thank Him for His blessing.
Service of the Heart
It was to be a day of trouble, rebuke, and blasphemy (2 Ki. 19:3). Assyria, the most powerful military force on Earth, invaded Judah. King Sennacherib demanded Jerusalem’s surrender, all the while mocking King Hezekiah and insulting the God of Israel (2 Ki. 18:2 Chr. 32; Isa. 36). Then, if that wasn’t terrifying enough for Hezekiah, the Jewish king was told be soon would die. Overwhelmed, he poured out his heart in serious supplication.
Most people face numerous problems in this world: illness, bereavement, loss of income, family pressures, loneliness, and much more. Difficulties are always present, as reflected in an old Yiddish saying. “Trouble is to man what rust is to iron.” It’s inevitable.
But God has given us the privilege of supplications to receive comfort and help. Scriptures tells us, “Pour out your heart before Him” (Ps. 62:8). It also assures us He hears: “The Lord has heard my supplication: the lord will receive my prayer” (6:9).
Upon hearing the blasphemous Assyrian message, Hezekiah, emotionally worn and weak, tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, entered the Lord’s Temple and prayed: Incline Your ear, O LORD, and hear, open your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. Now therefore, O LORD our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you are the LORD God, You alone (2 Ki. 19:16, 19).
God represented with full deliverance for Jerusalem. Hezekiah’s supplication was viewed as so powerful that, from a human perspective, it appeared to change God’s mind. But God does not change (Num. 23:19; Mal. 3:6; Jas. 1:17). He always glorifies Himself and does what is right in His eyes.
Later Hezekiah was sick and near death. The prophet Isaiah visited him and broke the bad news: “Thus says the LORD: “set your house in order, for you shall die and not live” (Isa. 38:1).
Whatever be our darkest moments in life, God is always there. As followers of Jesus, we should always remember that God works everything out for good in accordance with His purpose (Rom. 8/ 28). There will be days of trial and trouble. So many, infect, that even Bible – believing Christians will be worn down and afflicted. But God hears the passions of the heart. He may not always answer in the way we desire or expect, yet His ways are always perfect. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplications, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6).
Jesus’ Prayer For You
Did you ever wish you could speak with Jesus face to face? Many times I’ve longed to see His face, hear His voice, look into His eyes, and simply share what was on my mind. Of course, that’s not possible; we “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).
However, God has given us the privilege of prayer as a way to communicate with our gracious and loving heavenly Father. Christian prayer is always directed to God in Jesus’ name and offered in the power of the Holy Spirit. Have you ever wondered what Jesus’ prayer is for you? Is really the Lord’s Prayer, not the traditional “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name” (Mt. 6:9). That one is actually the disciples’ prayer. Jesus’ disciples asked Him how they should pray, and He told them. John 17 is the Messiah of Israel speaking (praying) to His Father. It is a beautiful, heartfelt prayer in which Jesus shared His love for His disciples and His desire for those who would follow after them.
Jesus’ Prayer for Himself: Jesus began by acknowledging, “The hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You” (v. 1). “The hour” was the time for our salvation to be secured. Jesus was born to die; that was His ministry. He came to “Seek and to save that which was lost” (Lk. 19;10) and “give eternal life” to many (Jn. 17:2).
Jesus’ Prayer for His Disciples: His prayer shows His deep love for His disciples: “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours” (v. 9). Judas, “the son of perdition,” is the only one of the 12 disciples who would ultimately be lost because he betrayed the Messiah (v. 12).
Jesus’ Prayer for You: “I do not pray for these along (the disciples), but also for those who will believe in Me through their word” (v. 20). That means you and me. We are the direct result of the ministry of the 11 remaining disciples, along with the apostle Paul. These men were used to communicate the life transforming gospel message that still changes lives today. All who have embraced Jesus as Savior since the outpouring of the Holy Sprit are “those who will believe in me through their word..”
Jesus’ desire for all His followers – from the disciples’ day to now – is “that they also may be one” (v. 21). Unity implies harmony or Agreement. Jesus’ desire for His followers is that they would be of like heart and mind (Phil. 2:4-5).
Satan’s plan, on the other hand, is to separate and conquer. He works to fracture the Lord’s flock, causing believers to disagree even over such issues as sanctuary paint colors. Jesus wants His followers to “be one just as We [Father and Son] are one” (Jn. 17:22).
Why is unity so vital to the Lord? Because it is through the harmony of believers “that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as you have loved Me” (v. 23). Apparently the love of believers for one another impacts souls for Jesus and gives many a desire to possess the deep and permanent love, peace and joy that can only come from knowing Christ.”
The disciples were not super Christians who mastered the spiritual discipline of prayer merely because the Lord gave them this one lesson. They continued to struggle, fall, and fall. But they also moved out for God, withstood persecution, and helped change the known world with the gospel.
“I tell you therefore: everything you ask and pray for, believe that you have it already, and it will be yours. And when you stand in prayer, forgive what you have against anybody, so that your Father in Heaven may forgive your failings too”(Mk: 11: 24-25).
I believe that in the hard moments of life and in times of victory, they remembered the Lord’s teaching; and it secured their hearts.
– – – written by Capt. Mervin John Lobo