O Lord, the God of my salvation, I have cried out by day and in the night before You.
Psalm 88:1 (NASB)
As for me, I shall call upon God, And the LORD will save me. Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur, And He will hear my voice. Psalm 55:16 -17 (NASB)
So much for my human reasoning…The Psalmists write repeatedly verses like those above, how they approach God morning, and evening and noon with their needs and woes. These were their customary prayer times, so it makes sense that this is what they would write. We have no specific times to pray although many Christians begin their day with devotions. The point is that the Psalmists write of crying out, complaining, and murmuring to God about their trials- over and over again!
My Pastor quoted someone who said that we are to “pray until we are praying.” Many times prayer seems like a litany or laundry list that we dump on God’s doorstep like the morning newspaper. We proceed to “pray” and walk away hoping something magical happens.
The Psalmist appears from his writing to have entirely something else in mind. These guys left us their example of what to do with our worries and trials. My pastor said the idea is that we are to remain in prayer, talking to God and unburdening our souls until there is peace…until there is peace.
How long do you think that would be? Much more than the hastily spoken prayers we tend to mutter at the end of the day or we try to cram in before running out the door each morning. As I think of how David prayed (2 Sam. 12:16-23) for the life of his child, seven days and nights he fasted and prayed and poured out his heart before God. Hannah (1 Sam.1) prayed for years for a child, and prayed so fervently in the temple that Eli the Priest thought she was drunk! The Lord Jesus prayed so earnestly that he sweat great drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane.
In each case, these men prayed until God answered. They wrestled around in prayer until an answer came from God or until they had the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.
That whole peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil 4:6-8) is a mysterious thing to me, and very difficult to explain to someone who has never experienced it before. I do note that peace from God does not come until we have presented our requests to Him humbly and earnestly and with thanksgiving.
I have to wonder how humble and earnest we can be about prayer if we approach it as though we were going through the drive-thru at McDonalds? If that is the operational mode for your prayer life, does it clear things up for you as to why you have little peace about things and why worrying seems like a better approach to problem-solving?
It is understood that in our present economy, we rarely have the luxury of taking the day off life in order to be on our face before God in prayer, so as always balance is the key here. Praying without ceasing means that I pray all day long in whatever moments I have interrupting my prayer for tasks set before me rather than the other way around. It means prayer becomes the priority and tasks become secondary whenever possible. In my mind and heart, I am continually before the throne of God beseeching Him for wisdom, help, direction, guidance, and whatever else I need Him to intercede on in my life.
I do believe this is the greater part of wisdom, and I also believe this is what “walking with God” looks like.