The Essence of Prayer XXVI – The Christian’s Prayer in Difficulty

Matthew 27:46  This prayer of the Lord Jesus from the cross can involve us in large theological difficulties but that is not the nature of this devotional.  What is very clear as a backdrop is that this is a direct quote from Psalm 22:1 where David cries out to God with these same words.  God brings His people into great difficulty such that they have such feelings, such an outlook, that they are in such darkness that they feel forsaken by God.  This is not just an unbeliever but God’s own anointed – David and the Lord Jesus – who is brought into the place where there is no sight of God.  In Isaiah 50:10 the believer is exhorted to trust in God when he finds himself in darkness.  It may seem unthinkable that a believer would ask “God, have You forsaken me?” But this is an even stronger declaration of desertion, “Why have You forsaken me?”  The Lord Jesus has been in even worse darkness than any believer can know.

If God brings His people into great difficulty, He also gives them prayer.  The Lord Jesus doesn’t pray to God as an entity; He prays, “My God.”  From the believer’s inability to see, he calls out, even lashes out, but it is to the God of his refuge.  There is fight in such prayer.  How could the believer dare to claim that God, the One who keeps the covenant, has forsaken him?  The believer can call out with such prayer because of his relationship with God.  He knows that the covenant-keeping God cannot possibly have forsaken him but the believer is asking why He appears to have left him in total darkness.  He is complaining, vehemently, that it should not be so with such prayer, Psalm 22:1-21a.  In Psalm 22:21b he declares that God has heard him.  In the deep darkness where God’s people are driven they are able to pray vehemently and they are heard.

In Luke 22:46, when the Lord Jesus knew He was facing His greatest trial, He exhorted His disciples to pray for the trial they would also be facing.  He was praying with great earnestness before the cross for God to deliver Him but with submission to the Father’s will.  The believer likewise must pray earnestly that the difficulty he faces will pass but with submission to God’s will as it unfolds.  And God enables and answers such prayer.