Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 28. (MsgB)
Don’t turn a deaf ear when I call You, God.
If all I get from You is deafening silence, I’d be better off in the Black Hole.
I’m letting You know what I need, calling out for help,
And lifting my arms toward Your inner sanctum.
Let me be gut honest here.
Praying to a God that I can’t see and can’t touch is not always a pleasant experience.
Ever been there?
So maybe that’s why I appreciate King David so much. It seems as I ponder some of David’s songs (the Psalms), I find a man who struggles with his prayers at times. A man who realizes on occasion that prayer to his God sometimes feels more like an exercise in calling out to ceiling tiles than anything else!
Here in Psalm 28, we find David pleading with his God, hoping and praying that this High King in Heaven won’t turn a deaf ear to his urgent pleadings for help. And unless I’m mistaken, his snide comment about ‘deafening silence’ is coming out of personal experience, not just theology or theory. In other words, I’m guessing that there have been times in David’s life when he has turned to his God in prayer and walked away wondering if there was anyone really there or not.
Now some people look at that scary reality found in God’s Word and try to skip over it or cover it up somehow. The idea of a loving God who remains silent to our cries for help, quite honestly, is a bit scary for most of us religious folks down here on planet earth.
Maybe I’m looking at the glass half-full instead of half-empty, but for me, the fact that a spiritual giant like King David experiencing silence from God in response to his prayers is, quite honestly, a bit encouraging for me. Now stay with me here, but as I see it, if a good guy like King David has days when he feels like God is ignoring his prayers, that, to me, offers great hope for a goofy guy like me.
In other words, if David can say truthfully that there are days when God is seemingly silent to him yet he continues to trust in God as he does, so then maybe I can experience days of silence from my God and yet find the ability to believe God still hears my prayers even when I don’t ‘feel’ like He is responding. Get it?
I’m wondering if Jesus, the High Son of God, was addressing this difficult issue when He told His disciples about how to approach their prayer life with this unseeable, untouchable God? It’s apparent that the disciples were troubled on how prayer should work. All around them there were spiritual men who were taking their prayers to the streets, yelling madly to God, hoping (and praying) this ungodly silence would be broken. But rather than buying into the theory that if you’re not hearing from God, just yell louder, Jesus steps in and says this to His frustrated friends…
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. (Matthew 6: 5-8)
Maybe there’s a lesson here on how to respond when my unseen, untouchable God seems to be turning a deaf ear toward me? Maybe my approach needs to change? Maybe, just maybe, rather than getting frustrated and thus yelling louder to my God, I need to take Jesus’ advice here and actually get quieter instead? Maybe I need to go into a secluded room like Jesus suggests, dial myself down, get still and whisper my prayers instead of acting as though my God is deaf and needs more volume from me?
Shut up. Be still.
Know that He is God…and I’m not!
My prayer: Lord, on one hand, I’m encouraged that a godly man such as King David experienced difficulty in his prayer life like me. But on the other hand, I’d like You to teach me more about praying to a God like You who is unseeable and untouchable. Thank You that Jesus seems to have found an answer to these difficult issues. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: How can I re-look at the way I respond when God seems to turn a deaf ear to my prayers? Are there patterns in my prayer life that indicate that I tend to yell louder when I believe God isn’t listening? If so, what will it look like to reduce my volume, be more still, and whisper my thoughts to my loving Father?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?
Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Sustainable Faith-Heartland network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.
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