Prayer is not something that comes naturally to most of us. As believers, we’ll spend the rest of our lives learning to pray and understanding how prayer works. One place we learn from is the book of Psalms. In Psalm 4, there are 3 little expressions that stick out to me.
1 – Answer Me! – “Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!” (4:1)
Reading through the psalms, you discover that the writers often wonder if God can hear them. More than anything we want to know that we are heard by God when we call out in urgency. Yet many times people feel that God is deliberately mute and refusing to answer. We don’t want God to be silent.
2 – How Long? – “How long shall my honor be turned into shame?” (4:2)
We are an impatient people. Like little children on a long car ride, we keep asking “how long?” We want a clear timeline of events. We want to know how long we are expected to carry our burdens. Waiting is not something we do gracefully. Our personal pain is often extended in times like this and we just want it over with.
3 – But know – “But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him.” (4:3)
The Psalms are often filled with questions and frustrations. Following some emotional venting often comes an affirmation about the true nature of God. Here the Psalmist begins by demanding that God answer him. Then he declares “but God” knows what he is doing and I know he does hear me, so now I can rest. (4:7)
When we pray, we take all our emotions with us. It’s okay to pour out our frustration. Just remember to also declare the good nature of God. When we remind ourselves that God is trustworthy, our prayers take on more strength. In the end, the writer is at peace because the Lord made “me dwell in safety.” (4:8) That’s not a bad place to end up.