Passage: Psalm 13

Speaker: Steve Hands

Series: Core Values – Prayer

Seeking God’s Face In Lament

This week we are beginning a new series on prayer, the sixth of our core values. We have explored the inward values of community and diversity to take outward steps of missions and discipleship with an upward dependence on God through prayer and God’sWord. Our values are spelled out in greater detail here. In prayer we seek God’s face and see God’s hand at work.  Both seeking God’s face and seeing God’s hand provide are critical. The Psalms are the prayer book for the people of God, cataloguing the varieties of human experience brought before the reality of the living God. The different types of psalms include lament, praise (Ps 24), wisdom (Ps 73), thanksgiving (Ps 118), and royal (Ps 110) psalms.  We want to learn from these psalms and grow in our prayer together. This Sunday we will seek God’s face in lament and move to praise through Psalm 13 we move from questioning to conviction to trust

            First, questioning is critical (Ps 13:1-2). The Psalmist does not silence or conceal questions and doubts; he expresses them: “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?” (13:1). Theologically an omniscient God cannot forget his people, but our lived experience often does not reflect our confessed theology. What do we do when theology does not meet practice? We ask questions. God can handle your hardest questions. If we believe that He is a living God who cares for us, we believe that He can handle our hardest questions. So we can bring them honestly before God.

            Yet prayer does not end with our questions; prayer moves to conviction (Ps 13:3–4). The Psalmist continues, “Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep in death” (13:3). Questions are not enough; answers are needed. Insight lights up our eyes to get clarity from our questions. Insight grows as we consider God’s Word (Ps 19:8). God’s Word is not a floodlight to show every single step in our future but it is a flashlight showing our next step (Ps 119:105). And as we question, God provides conviction through His Word for our next step.

            So our prayer moves from questioning to conviction to trust (Ps 13:5–6). The tone shifts here dramatically: “But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation” (13:5). The shift in tone in these last two verses is significant; no longer the plaintive lament of vv. 1–2, vv. 5–6 exudes a confident trust. Why? As we pray through our questions, then we gain conviction from God’s Word which forms the basis of our trust. Our situation may not have yet changed, but our trust has changed. And trust changes the situation.

            So how do you pray? Do you pray through the challenges that you face?  May our prayer lives regularly move from questioning to conviction to trust as we seek God’s face in lament together.

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