Psalm 13: Some Reflections on Prayer
I am going to continue Seth’s thoughts on prayer by continuing the discussion about our relationship with God. Prayer might just be the most important way of sustaining and deepening that relationship. I always liken it to our relationships with other men and women, and I refer to social media as an example. Facebook became a thing when I was in high school, and it gave my friends and I a way of keeping in touch with eachothers lives as we graduated and went our separate ways. I have a couple of Facebook friends that I haven’t spoken to in 5 or so years, but we see each other’s lives and I have a basic knowledge of who they are, where they are and what they are doing. On the other hand, I have a handful of buddies I speak to on a very regular basis. I can call them up right now and have a conversation with them about their day, there work, their stresses, their high points, their struggles, their successes, their depression, and their joys. You see these are the people I have a friendship with. I don’t just know about them, I know them. I might have 300 people with the title Facebook friends, but I haven’t spoken to them in years. Those who I speak with often are those who I am in the deepest of friendships with. So pray and pray often.
I mentioned that in my deepest relationships I am able to talk to them about anything, the good, the bad, and the ugly. In fact, I would say that those who have leaned on me and I on them about the deepest pains in life are my closest relationships. We can talk about these things because we are close, and we are close because we talk about these things. It is the same concept when we look at our relationship with our God. Often in prayer we tend to walk on eggshells. I find myself speaking in a certain churchy language, and trying to say the exact right thing. Its as if I as a human don’t want to hurt God. This is not how relationships are built. Yes, God is infinitely more powerful than you or I, but he wants to be in such a deep relationship with us that we ought to be able to base all of our human friendships on the one we have with our creator. He wants our full hearts. Our deepest joys and deepest pains. Listen to how the writer of Psalm 13 spoke with God…
“How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.”
The first four statements are asking and challenging God with, “How long O Lord?” Saying, you are allowing me to have my back against the wall here God. You have the power to stop it, and nothing is happening. Faced with death this Psalmist is not mincing their words. There are many Psalms of this kind in which the person is calling on God, challenging God, and pouring out their deepest pains to a God whom they need to bring their salvation. The Psalms show us that God can handle our emotions. In fact I would argue that as a personal God He asks for them. It is when we communicate our deepest joys and pains that our relationship grows and solidifies. Like Jesus in the garden and on the cross, we pour out our hearts to God and trust that he hears us and brings us our salvation.