Focus: Psalm 116
Parents like it when you phone home. I can sense the change in their voice when my parents figure out that I am on the other side of the line. The questioning hello, as if to say, “who are you?” turns to joy when they say, “How are you doing Mark?” My parents often even thank me for taking the time to call. Yet, they are not the only ones that benefit from my calls. I benefit, too. It is nice to hear a loving voice on the other end of the line. It is nice to share my life and get their advice. I find that my prayers do the same thing. I wonder if God feels the same way as my parents do when I call. My guess is that He does. Now that my children are grown, I love to talk to them on the phone. There is power in our relationships with our family and with God. We need those connections for many reasons. We need to pray because it is powerful and can change our lives. It is in prayer that I see so much of the character of God.
Prayer teaches me that God is compassionate v.5 The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The first thing that we need to know is that God cares. The psalmist knew that the Lord loved him. He knew that he didn’t have to force God to listen or force God into some kind of relationship with him. God had already made him part of His family. God had called the Jews his people. We live in a world where a lot of people have never felt the love of family. They don’t know what it is to have someone who cares. Prayer is a time to be with someone who really cares. Prayer is time to be with someone who wants to be with you even more than you will ever want or need Him. God is love and He wants to be part of your life every day.
Prayer teaches me that God is generous v.8 For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, He loves us so much that he will surprise us. The psalmist asked for a little help in a hard situation and found a God who gave him more than he expected. Here is a God who held him up like a mother holds a child. Here is a God who walked beside him to protect him from his enemies. In prayer, we are often surprised by how much God will do for us. When we ask for help from a friend or a family member, we often are afraid to ask for too much. We know that people have limits and can only do so much. Our God has no limits. God hears our cry in prayer and gives us everything that we need. He doesn’t do things halfway. He is a God who wants us to succeed in life. He wants us to thrive and so He generously supplies the needs when we ask Him.
Prayer teaches me that God is loving v.15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. I am one of four children of my parents and I know that every one of us is precious to them. We are precious in life and we would be a precious loss if any of us were to die in a car accident or from cancer. God is the same with his children. How he grieves when we make bad choices or when we don’t come to him for help. How he rejoices when he sees us succeed or when he gets to help us with a problem that we have been wrestling with for a long time. Helping us is not a bother. It is a joy. We think that we have to barter for his help. We think that there are problems that we have that are too small to bother him with. Those thoughts don’t know God and they don’t recognize our value to him. Repeat after me, “I am precious to God. I am someone that God wants to help and wants to succeed.” We never have to beg.
What if we don’t pray? V.2 Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. The psalmist makes a pledge to call on the Lord as long as he lives. He prayed and God answered. Yet, what if we don’t pray? The answer is simple. We cut ability for God to work in our lives. The bible says “Ask and it shall be given you”. It never promises I will read your mind and give you what I know you are thinking. Help from God is based on relationships. It is based on prayer. Most Christians don’t pray often. They sometimes haven’t learned what the psalmist says about the character of God. Sometimes, it is that we get just too busy and don’t take the time to pray. In the process, they make life tougher and busier because they are doing it all without God’s help. When we don’t pray, we don’t build a relationship with God and we hurt ourselves. Pick up the “prayer phone”. God is just waiting for you to call so He can help you and show you His love.