“O LORD, I Pray, Save my Life!”
The Comforting Salvation of Prayer
Scripture Reading - Psalm 116
I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my supplications.
Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. Then I called on the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I pray, save my life!” Psalm 116.
Whenever I am feeling beat down by the world, I read from the book of Psalms. When I am sad and in need of comfort, I read from the book of Psalms. Many people turn to the book of Psalms for comfort in times of danger and distress. When we are first introduced to the Psalms, they seem to be beautifully constructed lyrics, but as we begin to read the words of each passage a revelation occurs. As we read the Psalms, the words transition from poetry to the groaning of desperation. They become the words of a man that is being hunted--a man that is in fear for his life. The psalms are the personal prayers of a person in need of spiritual and physical salvation.
Perhaps we feel comforted by Psalms because the words function as prayers for us when we don't know what to say or when we feel lost and confused. Let's face it, sometimes it is difficult for us to pray. It is difficult for us to pray during times of grief when we feel that all has been lost. It is difficult for us to pray when our lives have been shattered into a million pieces and we feel that no one will be able to put the pieces together.
Perhaps we find the Psalms comforting because they come from the heart of the psalmist. In the Psalms of David we hear the prayers of a broken man. We feel his fear and understand his pleas. Martin Luther once said, "“Grant that I may not pray alone with the mouth; help me that I may pray from the depths of my heart”
Have you ever prayed a prayer deep from within your heart?
Two years ago my husband and I were traveling along the coast. We had made reservations at a hotel located in an area that was only accessible by ferry. Thinking that we could check into the hotel at any given time, we opted to take the late ferry. Needless to say, it was almost midnight when we arrived only to find that all the hotels closed for the night. All of the offices were locked up tightly not to be reopened until morning. My husband was livid. I found myself going from office to office frantically looking for a desk clerk. I remember a feeling of panic. Then, I closed my eyes and prayed, "God help us." It was all I could think to say.
The prayer was short and simple, but it came from deep within my heart. About a second after uttering the prayer, I heard a voice behind me say, "Do you need some help?" I turned around to see the groundskeeper from one of the hotels. He explained that he was never out that late at night, but a friend had called him with a question and the information that he needed to answer the question was in the office. The next morning, we thanked the man and his wife for helping us. I remember the wife telling me "God really was looking after you."
I said, "I know."
She said, "After something like that, how can you do anything but believe."
I said, "You're right."