To you, O Yahweh, I call; my rock, do not be deaf to me, for if you are silent to me, I will become like those who go down to the pit. Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your holy sanctuary, (vv. 1 – 2).
Sustained desperate prayer is prayer which acknowledges that in God and God alone is salvation, deliverance, respite, and peace. Desperate prayer is prayer which sees God and God alone as its help. Desperate prayer does not view God as one option among many but rather it sees God as its only hope – so much so that it frankly says with Job, “Though he slay me, yet will I love him.”
The psalmist knew that if Yahweh was silent that he would be like those who go down to the pit. It is only by the grace of God that we do not live lives of deception (verse 3), only by the grace of God that our hearts (verse 3) are washed from evil and our hands (verse 4) restrained from evil practices. It is only by the grace and mercy of God that we see his works (verse 5).
We desperately need God as our source of life in this evil age, we desperately need to be connected to God through prayer, communion, his Word – through his Son Jesus Christ. .
Blessed be Yahweh, because he has heard the voice of my supplication, (v.6).
Desperate prayer is persevering prayer, it is prayer sustained until assurance is received or until we pierce the veil of flesh into the fullness of the presence of God. In a society of instant communication and gratification we do not know how to wait, we want answers and we want them now. If our emails and voice messages are not immediately returned we get impatient and even angry. If we send God the equivalent of a prayer email we expect him to answer right away or we tend to move on to the next thing in life and wonder why God didn’t answer our prayer – we are not desperate enough to engage in sustained desperate prayer, we are not desperate enough to wait for God.
If we will wait for God he will assure us that he has heard our prayer; he may not give us understanding of his answer, or he may not give us a full understanding of his answer, we may be in the dark about the matter as much as we were before our prayer – but we will know that God has heard us and that he is our strength and our shield (verse 6). This waiting may be for ten minutes, it may be for ten days, it may even be for ten years or more (though I think the latter unusual), there may even be sustained desperate prayers without assurance that are prayed until we enter the fullness of his kingdom – but our calling is to walk with God and pray and worship, our calling is not to receive answers or even assurance. Answers are an element of our relationship with our heavenly Father and Lord Jesus Christ, not having answers is also an element of that relationship.
We simply don’t know as God knows; what we do know is that he loves us and that he is our strength and our shield.