“Hear my prayer, O LORD,
Listen to my cry for help;
Be not deaf to my weeping.”
~Psalm 39:12a-c (NIV).
A cried prayer—yes, that’s right; a weeping prayer—is probably the most earnest there is. We believe that God hears all prayers. But the prayers of those meek and poor-of-spirit souls who cannot muster anything in resistance but turn, drawing near to God, he answers always in the affirmative; at least so far as his indwelt mercy is concerned.
The superscription on Psalm 102 is a somewhat unique teaser in the realm of the Psalms:
“A prayer of an afflicted man. When he is faint and pours out his lament before God.”
This categorises succinctly what the crying prayer is. It’s the prayer of an alien in his or her own land; perhaps feeling the scorn of their own people or circumstances, they have nowhere to run but to God himself, in prayer. It’s a desperate situation really.
And the situation becomes us every now and then, at times for an hour or two; others for a whole season of life... months or years long. It’s honestly how we feel deep inside.
Yet, our spiritual battle has only really now been won when we enter into lament with God, for we’re at safety—brute sadness is resplendently holy in comparison with anger. Tearful prayers heal the heart, invisibly it seems, as God ministers his grace—even overnight (Psalm 30:5).
Psalm 102 ends very positively—even though it focuses heavily on lament, as most laments do. And it’s the same for our tearful prayers. When we offer our prayers solemnly we can expect they’ll be received faithfully and we’ll experience some sort of eventual peace—that humbling peace that transcends our common understanding (Philippians 4:6-7).
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.