2007-08-27 - Crying to the Lord
Psalm 88:6, "Thou hast put me in the lowest pit, in dark places, in the depths."
I was visiting someone recently in the hospital, and we read Psalm 88. This is not the typical pastoral visitation Psalm for reading. It is a cry from the Psalmist to be saved from death. Nevertheless, and always doing the unordinary, we read Psalm 88. I have no doubt that as I was reading it, she was thinking, wondering, "Why is he reading this to encourage me?" Well, I hope that when we were finished, and I explained what we might take from the Psalm, she was encouraged. I hope you will be also, because the point is really quite simple. We take all our cares to the Lord. We take everything - all our afflictions, fears, struggles, all our darkest thoughts, the dark moments of the soul, everything that we struggle with... These are the very things that we take to the Lord our God. Have terrors destroyed you?" (Psalm 88:15) You can do no better than to take them to the Lord and seek His gracious mercy.
The mercies of the Lord are more precious than the rarest and most precious gems on earth. We come to the Lord for His mercy. We pray because we have needs. It is rare that we pray to the Lord, if we do not have needs. If we thought we had no needs, we would not pray. There are few atheists on a sinking ship, or a plane spinning toward Earth, but it is not only facing death that brings us to prayer. We pray for seemingly little things also. Why? Because we have needs. If we had not needs, we would have lost the strongest motive to prayer. You cannot pray unless you have a sense of need. One of the old writers that I like so much has an interesting way of saying this truth. "He that prays without fervor asks to be denied." We come to the Lord as beggars, because He is the gracious Lord, who delights to hear both our requests and thanksgivings. But coming as beggars, we come with a desperate heart, longing that we might be heard and have the requests that we seek.
Let us ask the Lord, often, to overfill our cup. There is nothing too big to ask the God who controls all things. He is Lord of the universe. If we asked Him for anything, really anything - a whole world - it is as nothing for Him to give it to us. He could as easily give us a world as He could a crumb. It is all His; let us not be afraid to seek big things from the Lord. He who seeks, finds (Luke 11:10). But let us also seek the right things from the Lord. Love does not seek its own (1 Cor. 13:5). We are to seek those things that are above (Col. 3:1). We are to seek peace (Ps. 34:14), and also to pursue it. We are to seek the Lord with all our heart (Ps. 119:2). We could get very lengthy here on this topic, and multiply verses, but let us be sure that when we do come to the Lord in prayer, seeking His favor, that we seek things that are in accord with His will, and for the advancement of His kingdom - and not our own selfish lusts.
Let us exceed the average follower of Christ in our prayers. Let us seek to outshine others in our prayers to the Lord, for things agreeable to His will (Westminster Shorter Catechism 98).
Soli Deo Gloria,