Daily Devotional: Psalms 39:12-13
12 "Hear my prayer, O LORD, listen to my cry for help; be not deaf to my weeping. For I dwell with you as an alien, a stranger, as all my fathers were. 13 Look away from me, that I may rejoice again before I depart and am no more."
41 He [Jesus] withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
There are times that a fitting pray may be a very few words uttered in a moment of need or as an expression of thanksgiving. There are other times that it is appropriate for a prayer to be lengthy and emotional. Such was the prayer of Jesus on the night of his betrayal and such was the prayer of the Psalmist in our reading today. As we pour out our hearts to God in deep anguish, we may spend the entire night or day talking with our Father.
What makes prayer effective is that it comes from the heart, a heart of faith, committed to living for God to whom we are speaking. What prayer is not to be is just quoting some memorized lines without even thinking of what we are saying or using a lot of words to sound good or make it last for a long time.
We pray to God because he wants us to do so. We pray to God because he can fill our needs that we cannot fill on our own. We pray to God because he is in control of all things, both big and small. He made us and knows what is best for us. He has promised to answer our prayers but has not promised to always give us that for which we ask. An answer of “no” is just as much an answer as “yes” or “later” or any other response he sees best for us at the time.
So, as in the prayer of Jesus above, we ask for the will of God to be done in all things. This is true in our personal lives and the problems we face on a day to day basis. It is true when we ask for healing on the part of ourselves, our loved ones or some other person for whom we care. It is also true of governments.
My Father who is in heaven, holy and majestic is your name in all the earth. Your will be done on earth, even as it is in heaven. May your word abound and your church flourish as men and women turn from sin to your Son. I thank you for the daily provisions you give so abundantly and ask you to continue to take care of all my physical needs. Forgive me when I sin and fail to live up to your glory. Give me a loving and forgiving heart toward those who do me wrong. I ask your blessings on those who are hurting or struggling. I pray in the name of Jesus.