Praying Through the Bible #45 | with Daniel Whyte III
TEXT: Psalm 6
We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible”. The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the new Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have done 44 messages in this series.
This is message #45 titled “What to Do When it Seems Like God Has Not Heard Your Prayer.”
One of the great struggles of the life of prayer is when you pray and it seems like God is not hearing your prayers or when it seems like God is silent. This week, Relevant Magazine published an article titled, “What to Remember When God is Silent.” In the article, the author writes: “There are plenty of stories in the Bible of God being silent. Job experienced His silence. So did Abraham as he planned to sacrifice Isaac. The Bible doesn’t record God talking to Joseph in prison, nor John the Baptist before his beheading. There are more examples of God’s silence than we may be comfortable exploring.”
The idea that God is not hearing us when we talk to him can be very unsettling. And if we are not careful, we will allow the devil to begin to put false thoughts in our minds regarding God’s love for us, God’s ability to answer our prayers, or even God’s existence. Today, I want us to tackle this issue and see what we can learn from how David handles this experience of the silence of God in his own life in Psalm 6. This psalm is known as the first of the “penitential” psalms, and in it David expresses his sorrow, humiliation, and hatred of sin.
1. Understand that God answers on his own time. In verse 3, David prays, “My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O Lord, how long?” The word “vexed” means “to be disturbed, alarmed, terrified, anxious, or afraid.” In such a condition, David wants to hear from God right now. He wants to hear God’s voice speaking in the midst of his anxiety. He wants God to reach down and deliver him from his distress. But, he is not hearing what he wants to hear, and he pleads, “O Lord, how long?”
2. In faith, believe that your situation is already resolved. In verse 8, while David is in the midst of his prayer to God, he declares, “Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping.” David considers his situation as though it is already resolved. In faith, he commands his enemies to leave him because God has heard his prayer. He does not have an answer from God yet, he does not know how God will deliver him yet, but he begins to operate as though he is already delivered. As Albert Barnes writes in his commentary, “Already David sees his enemies scattered, and his own cause triumphant; and in this exulting feeling he addresses his foes, and commands them to leave him.”
3. Believe that God has heard your prayers, not because of what you feel, but because of what you know. David says in verse 9, “The Lord hath heard my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer.” At this point in this psalm, David’s tone changes. He is no longer pleading and wondering if God is hearing his prayers, he is affirming that God has heard his prayers. Charles Spurgeon wrote in his Treasury of David, “This Psalm is readily divided into two parts. First, there is the Psalmist’s plea in his great distress, reaching from the first to the end of the seventh verse. Then you have, from the eighth to the end, quite a different theme. The Psalmist has changed his note. He leaves the minor key, and betakes himself to sublimer strains. He tunes his note to the high key of confidence, and declares that God hath heard his prayer, and hath delivered him out of all his troubles.”