Prayers in a Time of Suffering

The Deluge, John Martin [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.

From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.

I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.  For you, God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.

Increase the days of the king’s life, his years for many generations.  May he be enthroned in God’s presence forever; appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him.

Then I will ever sing in praise of your name and fulfill my vows day after day.
-Psalm 61

There are times of loss and suffering when we feel distant from God.  We feel like we are in a place, on earth, that is one of the furthest from God.  That is how is feels, because we are suffering.  We are tired and our heart is faint.

In that time, our prayer is, "Lead me to the rock that is higher than I".  We want to be grounded on that rock that gives us solid stability.  We feel wobbly and want to feel steady again.

Feeling like you are distant from God and faint of heart is real.  David probably went through those kinds of times and later reflected about it, writing this psalm.  When we are suffering, we don't always think straight or have theological insight.

 If you feel far from God, that is normal and temporary.  If you feel fainthearted, that is normal too.  Our humanity gets tired and has limits.

Notice that, "I feel like I am at the end of the earth", and "I am fainthearted", are not followed by, "And please forgive me."  We are human.  We get stressed out, tired, disappointed, sad, angry, confused, devastated, grieved, and even suicidal.  This is called 'the human condition'.

What we do when we are there is what David's word's are admonishing us to.  We're going through suffering, warfare, a bad day, a bad week, setbacks, losses, and impossible times.  Cry out.  Pray, even when you feel like God is far off and your heart is weak.

When you are in that place, you probably will not have faith-filled, beautiful, crafted-prayers.  My prayers, when I am in that place, are whimpers and whispers, as from a person who is simply out of breath and low on energy.  My heart was faint and I felt far away from God.

God heard.