Praying in the Light When God's Keeping You in the Dark
1 My God, my God, why have thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? 2 O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hear not; and in the night season, and am not silent.
I. Focus on the Person Of God
3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabit the praises of Israel.
He is separate or distinct from all other gods because He is the One who answers prayer
II. Focus on the Past Acts of God to Others
4 Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou did deliver them. 5 They cried to thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
III. Perceiving Your Predicament
6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people. 7 All they that see me deride me: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8 He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.
If we're in trouble because of our trust in God, no matter how bad the circumstances, we're in very good shape.
IV. Focus on the Past Acts of God to You
9 But thou art he that brought me forth into life: thou did make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts. 10 I was cast upon thee from my birth: thou art my God from my mother's womb.
V. Pleading Your Poverty
11 Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. 12 Many bulls have surrounded me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. 13 They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. 14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted within me. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaves to my jaws; and thou have brought me into the dust of death. 16 For dogs have surrounded me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I may number all my bones: they look and stare upon me. 18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
An awareness of our hopelessness/helplessness should give rise to hope in His helpfulness.
VI. Persist with Your Faithful Plea
19 But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me. 20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.
21 Save me from the lion's mouth...from the horns of the wild ox you have heard me.
God kept David safe from death and kept Jesus safe through death.
VII. Focus on the Present Praise of God
22. I will declare thy name to my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. 23 Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. 24 For he has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither has he hid his face from him; but when he cried to him, he heard. 25 My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him. 26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.
VIII. Focus on the Future Praise of God
27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. 28 For the kingdom is the LORD'S: and he is the governor among the nations. 29 All they that are fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul. 30 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. 31 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness to a people that shall be born, that he has done this.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion/Response:
1. What are some of the reasons why God doesn't answer our prayers as we would like?
2. Were you ever more thankful for God's delay/denial than if He had immediately granted your request?
3. How many reasons can you give for why God would answer positively some of your requests that He's put on hold?
4. How does knowing Psalm 22 affect your understanding of Jesus' words on the cross? Cry of anguish or shout of victory?
5. Are there any "unanswered prayers" that you need to either abandon or dust off and get ready for praise?