What is the Tension of Faithful Prayer?

by Mark D. Roberts (reprinted with permission)

Hands in Prayer
Faithful Prayer

Psalm 22:1-31

“Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer.
Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief…
For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy.
He has not turned his back on them,
but has listened to their cries for help” (Psalm 22:2, 24, NIV).

Today I want to base my reflection on two verses from Psalm 22. In the first verse (22:2), the psalmist laments God’s lack of response to his desperate prayers. Even though he has called out to God day and night, God has not answered. The second verse (22:24) seems almost to contradict the first, affirming God’s attention to those who cry for help in their suffering.

How is it possible for both of these verses to appear in the same psalm? How can the psalmist accuse the Lord of ignoring his prayers, yet, moments later, celebrate God’s faithfulness in response to the cries of the needy?

Such superficially contradictory statements make sense when we realize that our faith in the living God is not some neat, tidy relationship that we can carefully manage. Every person who has walked with God for a while has experienced seasons of despair and seasons of exaltation. Sometimes these seasons overlap, even in a single prayer. In agony, we cry out for God’s help. Then we remember his goodness. Then our desperation returns as we wonder why God seems so distant. Then we are encouraged by the promise of his presence.

And so it goes when we live in the tension of faithful prayer. Tweet this.

Psalm 22 invites us into a tumultuous, passionate, growing, intimate relationship with God. It gives us permission to cry out in anguish without holding back and to rejoice in the memory of God’s faithfulness—and, sometimes, to do both more or less at once.

Read the rest of Mark’s post over at the High Calling.

This post reminded me of this wonderful song  – I will not be Shaken written by Sonic Flood. Here it is played by Vineyard.

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Mark D. Roberts

Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts is Senior Advisor and Theologian-in-Residence of Foundations for Laity Renewal, a multifaceted ministry in the Hill Country of Texas and the parent organization of Laity Lodge. He has written several books, including his most recent: Can We Trust the Gospels? (Crossway, 2007)

He blogs at  http://www.patheos.com/community/markdroberts, and writes a daily devotional for http://www.thehighcalling.org.


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