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Pain is off the charts these days. I believe the multiplication of evil prophesied by Jesus for the last days is to blame. There’s more disintegration of families, more sin abounding, so hearts are hurting everywhere from betrayal. Where love is supposed to be, rejection abounds.
English obviously correlates “cry” and “cry out” in the translation of the Bible. O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent – Psalm 22:2 NIV. Distress
is associated with shouting. Our desperation turns to prayer, our anguish to hope. Prayer, if anything, is pathos.
I asked God for His toughest assignment because I was cocksure of the solution: prayer. Then He allowed me a trial that blindsided me and left me staggering and confused. I had to laugh at myself: I got what I asked for, and then I didn’t know what to do.
Prayer is the outpouring of pain, a solution, not a reveling in hurt. Unlike cutting or pity-partying, it doesn’t celebrate the ouch in an upside-down way; it heals it. Turn not your anguish into alcoholism. You have a God above you who loves you and cares for you.
Nebuchadnezzar wanted them really dead. So he heated up the executioner’s furnace seven times the normal heat. Even the guards who threw in Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego died. Talk about… mmm, overkill.
Even so, those three Jews, guilty of not bowing to the king’s idol, didn’t flinch. With great impending disaster bearing down upon them, they stayed faithful. They would only pray and believe in God. They wouldn’t do lip service to appease the wrathful king.
In the end, constancy won. King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, O king.” He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” — Dan. 3:24-25 NIV.
After that, the three Jews walked free. Good ole Neb learned not to mess with the One True God. And a decree was issued giving testimony throughout his empire. It pays to remain steadfast, to remain unbowed before the world’s idols despite intense pressure.
Praise is very much like prayer, only that it is confident (full of faith) of the answer.
One of the “secrets” I have learned in decades of prayer is to have time to praise God. (Usually the “big secrets” that the “gurus” know are simple truths that other people already know anyhow.) This key to successful prayer transformed my prayer life, which previously was something of a whine session.
It also served the second purpose of filling up my faith
tank. As I remembered all the good answers God had brought to my prayers (I compile lists), I am filled with faith to pray for today’s challenges. Yessiree, it’s that simple.