Read Psalm 88:13-14
13 O LORD,I cry out to you.
I will keep on pleading day by day.
14 O LORD,why do you reject me?
Why do you turn your face from me? (NLT)
Christians don’t doubt the necessity and priority of prayer. We can testify to times when our prayers have been wonderfully answered. We believe our prayers have in some mysterious way made a difference and the results are not mere coincidences. As the old saying goes,”when I pray coincidences happen more regularly!”
But we dare not become too glib about prayer. The Psalmist certainly wasn’t glib when he wrote these pain-filled words. If we are honest,there are times when the more we pray the worse things become. The apparently good things we pray for don’t come our way. The situation we pray will improve deteriorates,the day we commit to the Lord turns out to be less than memorable.
All this is painful reality for any follower of Jesus. Prayer does not grant us immunity from things going wrong. And yet we dare not give up on prayer because it is our vital lifeline to our God. Our prayers are not always answered the way we expect; God sometimes seems silent; our prayers may seem to bounce off the ceiling. But we go on praying.
I go on praying not because I have figured out prayer or figured out God. I go on praying the same way I go on breathing: it is essential to my life in God. I go on praying not because I always get what I ask for but because I always need to share my heart and my life with my God. Prayer might puzzle me at times,but not praying will shrivel me up. Prayer doesn’t solve my problems,but not praying will bring even more problems. The occasional pain of prayer is as nothing compared to the unending pain of prayerlessness.