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Monday, May 2, 2011

Remember Me, Act I

Reminder: This Thursday, May 5 is National Day of Prayer

Photo credit for Dubai Tennis Court: David Cannon

I cried out to Elohim with my voice ...
And He gave ear to me.
In the day of my trouble I sought Adonai ...
My soul refused to be comforted.
I remembered Elohim, and was troubled;
I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed.
~ from Psalm 77:1-3

The Psalmist appears to be doing everything right. He cries out, with faith that God hears. In time of trouble he turns to the Lord. He remembers the Creator Who shapes both people and circumstances.

Yet his soul is not comforted in the Lord. In remembrance of the One Who breathes life into man, his spirit finds trouble rather than revival. In his prayer, the psalmist finds not release from complaint, but that he is overwhelmed.

Does prayer sometimes feel this way, even when it is earnest and faith-filled, even when we remember to turn upward rather than inward for relief?

Whether we turn to God infrequently—in time of trouble or need—or we practice prayer often, perhaps we come to think of prayer the way we might think of a game, with well-defined rules of engagement and scoring. Whether consciously or unintentionally, we may think we need only put the ball in God's court and anticipate His reaction.

Tomorrow from Psalm 77: Remember Me, Act II –
What elusive element is needed when prayer seems to fail?

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This post is linked to a blog carnival hosted by Peter Pollock. You're invited to visit his site and see what others are saying about today's theme: GAMES.

Comments, questions, and respectful disagreement are welcome. Reply to comments, or e-mail buildingHisbody [plus]
Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.


  1. It can feel just like a game at times. And those are times when you just hold on because you know He's still there.

  2. I once knew a pastor of a PH church that had a daughter who was a minister in the UMC and had cancer. He prayed for her healing and she died. He took it personal and grieved in the pulpit for over a year. It was so sad to see this happen to him.

  3. I've been thinking a lot about the timing of my prayers and if I'm a manipulative prayer lately. I want to just delight in Him, to pray that up more often than pounding out the requests...the help me prayers...
    ~ Wendy

  4. Yes, Glynn, you're right. And the "just holding on" prayer is far more effective than when it feels like we're losing a game.

  5. Odie ~

    I'll try not to judge the pastor. But I will note that even in our deepest mourning, even if a loved one dies who is not saved, it is the Lord and not the loved one we must worship.

  6. Wendy ~

    I don't think we're necessarily aware when we've come to the point that prayer has become a game. But I do think there's a difference between the prideful mainipulation that disregards His will, and the "bargaining" manipulation of a little child who still needs to see a bigger picture. Maybe it's a very fine line between the two, but I have confidence that the Lord knows where to draw the line.

  7. For a variety of reasons, God can sometimes seem so far away, but in reality, He isn't. Our perception and ability to perceive makes all the difference. Great post, Anne. Looking forward to the next installment.

  8. I was recently reading that prayer is the relationship with God. It isn't necessarily the speaking to Him as it is the awareness of His constant presence, and us delighting in that presence, even if we aren't saying or hearing anything. Indeed, even if we are busy doing dishes or typing away on the computer. :-)

  9. I like what you said, about how some tell God, the ball is now in His court and he must perform. I do not believe God is a Game Player. May I never be guilty of only calling on my Father when I am in trouble. Instead may my lips continually praise Him.

  10. the most difficult prayer for me is praying for friends and family. that's when i want most to bend His will. i will confess though that i've played the game aspect too without realizing it. sometimes i think that praying for absolute strangers are the prayers that are more likely to be answered because it's then that He Is Lord and i'm fully giving Him that. does that make sense?

  11. I was jsut having a conversation with God this morning about the difference between praying for what we want and praying for what He wants -- I pray that the ball is ALWAYS in His court!

  12. I like that you have used His different names in this ... are they reflective of the need that was being addressed?

  13. Jason ~

    Yes, sometimes He seems far away. And sometimes He is achingly close yet untouchable. I don't even need to see His face. You know that scene in Passion of the Christ, where the adulteress bites the dust and reaches a hestitant hand to simply touch His foot? That is what I long for.

  14. Helen ~

    How right you are! Sometimes I hear Him most clearly in the silent moments of His presence amidst the daily grind.

  15. Hazel Moon ~

    I think it's fine to call on God when we're in trouble. But like the relationship with any loved one, He deserves our attention at all times--especially, as you point out, with lips of praise.

  16. Bud ~

    Yes, it's easier to pray without personal interest when we're somewhat removed from the situation. But we're more inclined to pray with fervency when we pray closer to home. You might peek again at my response to Wendy. (And I'm guessing : ) you'll be back for tomorrow's post.)

  17. Karin ~

    You've touched upon a key, which I'll mention tomorrow--the difference between asking Him to bend to our will and bending before Him as we ask what His will is.

  18. Susan ~

    I wish English translations did a better job of distinguishing the Hebrew names being used, as I did in this post. Yes, I do think that the names used of God in Scripture--or our prayers--are very reflective of the need and approach, just as the difference is reflected in whether I approach my husband with "John," "honey," "Daddy" (when addressing him in front of the kids about them), "Mr. Bundy," or "babe."


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