I remember the exact moment when I felt as though my prayers were just these wasted monologues vanishing into thin air. I was convinced that after months and months, hundreds and hundreds of prayers for my daughter Jaelyn, the Lord wasn’t going to answer them and heal her. Every morning I walked into her room hoping that it was the day she could breathe on her own. But every night I put her down with her oxygen and plead the same thing I did the night before: “Please take this from her. I can’t do this anymore.”
Did David Feel the Same Way?
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
And my enemy will say, “I have overcome him” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
On the Run and yet Still Praying
David, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), lived on the run and in hiding from Saul for up to four years, despite God’s promise to give him the throne (1 Samuel 16). Some of us look at his situation and wonder how he ever got through such a hard season of trials and tribulations without losing faith. After all, four years is a long time! More importantly, why would David go on praying when there seemed to be no answer to the cries of his heart?
Coincidentally–or better–in such godly fashion, we find the answer at the end of this same psalm of lament. Beginning in Psalm 13:5, it says:
But I trust in your unfailing love;
My heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the LORD’s praise,
For he has been good to me.
Never Cease to Pray…and Praise
While the answer is probably simpler said than done, it does not diminish it from being truth. David was able to pray without ceasing because he was able to praise without ceasing. We see his heart clearly in Psalm 34:1, “I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
David’s focus on God, His kingdom, and steadfast love outweighed the turmoil he personally faced. His life exemplified what Philippians 4:6 speaks of: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” He did not stop at praying and petitioning, but continued pouring out unrelenting thanksgiving to God.
David ultimately would see the prophetic word from Samuel come to fruition as he took the throne and became king. Even if he never had become king, I believe he still would have praised the Most High until his very last breath…
God Used My Prayers to Sift Me
Speaking of breath, remember my daughter Jaelyn? Finally, after fifteen months of testing, monitoring, and oxygen, she was miraculously healed one night while a friend in India prayed over her. After the excitement of her healing settled, I wondered why his prayer had been answered right away, but not mine? It didn’t take long for me to realize that God did hear my prayers. The timing of Jae’s healing had nothing to do with me. He used that season to teach and sift me so that I could see past myself into His heart. 1 Peter 1:6-7 says,
“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
Did you catch that?
The revelation of Jesus Christ through trials results in praise in this life and throughout eternity. To put it simply:
When we set our eyes upon Him, our hearts and prayers become Christ-centered.
When our lives become Christ-centered, we never cease to pray and seek more of Him.
When we seek Him, we will always find Him.
When we find Him, we will never cease to praise Him.