Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What Psalm 22 teaches about prayer

If you know much about Israel's King David, you know that he went through some very difficult times. As a boy he protected his family's flock against lions and bears. Shortly after defeating the giant Goliath, he faced Saul's jealousy and subsequent attempts on his life. But even after his ascension to the throne, there were times when his enemies caused his life to be miserable. David had a rough life.

While knowledge of David's life paints a backdrop for this psalm, there is something else that adds to the picture. That something else is experience. If you have or are going through difficult times, these psalms jump out at you. They give voice to the trials you have faced. And that is probably the reason why God inspired David to write them. As the apostle Paul put it, "whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope" (Rom. 15:4).

Psalm 22 is no exception. It records David's struggling thoughts during his trial and then his response when God finally answers his prayer. There is much to learn from David. With that in mind, consider several thoughts I have gleaned from this special psalm.

1. Some thoughts about prayer during hard times (Psalm 22:1-21a).
a. You may feel that God has forsaken you (1-2).
b. You may struggle even though others have gone through similar circumstances (3-5).
c. You may be ridiculed for trusting God during the struggle (6-8).
d. You may find that God is your only hope (9-11).
e. You may still feel overwhelmed (12-21a).
2. Some thoughts about answered prayer (21b-31).
a. Recognize for yourself what God has done (21,24).
b. Praise God by telling others what he has done (22-23,25,27).
c. Consider how your experience can help future believers (30-31).

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