When I don't know how to start talking to God, I turn to the Psalms. The Psalms are full of different kinds of prayers, complaints, praise, petitions and thanksgiving; all full of fervent emotions. Most of us don't speak in poetry or well-crafted prose like we find in the Psalms. Much of the time we can't find the words to say which express what we are feeling or suffering, but in the Psalms we can find exactly what we are feeling.
O, LORD, I call to you; come quickly to me. Hear my voice when I call to you. May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
When our hearts are seeking God and his help and comfort, these words won't be rote; these words will convey our own needs to God while they comfort and encourage us, knowing God inspired these passages and preserved them for us.
Incense and animal sacrifice were part of ancient Israel's worship. Incense represents the prayers of the saints and the sacrifices represent Jesus' death, paying the penalty for our sins, making us acceptable to God (Hebrew 9:11-14; Revelation 5:6-10). Just as the fragrance of incense and the fragrance of roasting meat is pleasant to smell, so our prayers of praise, gratitude and repentance are pleasing to God; It pleases him to accept us and our prayers. God is easy to be entreated by those who love him.
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. The LORD watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.
I don't want to be one of the wicked who must be destroyed; but I do want any wickedness in me destroyed through the blood sacrifice of God the Son. I want to be counted among those who love and fear God enough to trust him through the bad times as well as the good, accepting the troubles knowing God will produce something good through them all. Yes, we are invited to pray for relief from troubles along with giving thanks for the good that is being worked out in us.
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed….So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
God does not enjoy our suffering; but he does know what it is to suffer. He can and he will cut that suffering short whether in healing or rescue now, or in the resurrection to come. God is faithful, and his faithfulness will be confirmed to us as we continue to go to him in prayer, never giving up because God is not giving up on us.
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