Psalm 143:7-8 - Answer me quickly, O LORD! My spirit fails! Hide not Your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear in the morning of Your steadfast love, for in You I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul.
"Answer me quickly, O LORD!" How often have we prayed that way, in a last-minute, desperate cry for help? We are suffering in some trial, illness, or grief. Our spirits are crushed and failing fast. Why doesn't God help? Is He really hiding from us? At the blessing often used at the close of a worship service, we hear the words, "The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you" (Numbers 6:25). It is a prayer that the Lord would turn His shining face toward us and look on us with favor. But with this prayer from the psalm we wonder if His face is turned away and hidden from us. It is a plea like that of the disciples in the sinking boat on the Sea of Galilee: "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" (Mark 4:38b).
The Savior was in the boat with His disciples. He did care and He quieted the wind and waves. God hears our prayers and He cares. As the apostle Paul asks, "He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:32). The Son of God keeps us from the pit of despair and death because He descended into the pit of death for us. The Lord who suffered, died, and rose for the sake of our salvation will never hide His face from us.
In this psalm we demand an answer to our prayers, but even our frightened and lonely demands are made in response to God's own command and invitation: "Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me" (Psalm 50:15). We are told, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). This is the will of our loving Father. He wants His children to come to Him, in times of joy and in desperate days: "As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear Him" (Psalm 103:13).
After a long, sleepless night, we pray that God would let us "hear in the morning" His steadfast love. His steadfast love is His covenant love, the unfailing love that did not spare His own Son. After calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus asked His disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?" (Mark 4:40b). Answering that same question, we pray with the psalmist, "In You I trust." Our loving Heavenly Father invites us to trust Him and cling to the promises of His Word. In response we pray, "To You I lift up my soul."
WE PRAY: Lord God, to You I lift up my soul. Hear and answer my prayers. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
1. Do you ever pray for patience when praying for God to handle an urgent situation in your life?
2. What does "pray without ceasing" mean to you? What does this look like in real life?
3. How does the act of praying—even when we don't know what to say—bless and benefit us?
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