Summary: Tears are a language that God understands. Tears speak more about what our hearts feel than any words could ever express. When words just won’t come, it’s our tears that shout out to God.
Prayer of Tears
Psalm 56:8 (The Living Bible)
We’ve started a new series called ‘When you pray…’ and over the next few weeks we’re going to be looking at this thing we call prayer and the different types of prayer that are available to us. But what I didn’t want to do is to fall into the same old trap of going over, what for many people will be familiar ground. You know often when we talk about prayer we get stuck in the same old rut of adoration, confession, thanksgiving etc, etc, etc. We will be including some of those, and Andrew Price kindly kicked off the series for us last week with the prayer of adoration. But prayer is much bigger than just those things, prayer is much bigger than just words uttered toward God. So we’re going to be looking at a few other aspects of prayer as well. Our future as a fellowship has to be birthed in prayer, all kinds of prayer, not just the usual shopping list of our wants and desires. Not just the usual ramblings of adoration, confession, thanksgiving, prayers that are filled with constantly repeated, empty, meaningless words, but prayer that comes from the heart, prayer that cries out to God from our inner being. Heartfelt prayer that reaches out and touches God and moves God to action, and today is one of those days as we look at the prayer of tears!
Read Psalm 56 (The Living Bible)
Verse 8 the NIV translates as ‘Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll, are they not in your record’. The King James says, ‘Thou tellest my wanderings; put my tears into thy bottle, are they not in thy book’. The Contemporary English Version (CEV) says, ‘You have kept record of my days of wandering. You have stored my tears in your bottle and counted each of them’. But I prefer the translation that I read from, the Living Bible, ‘You have seen me tossing and turning through the night. You have collected all my tears and preserved them in your bottle! You have recorded every one in your book’!
As I was studying this week I came across this illustration.
One day, I woke early in the morning to watch the sunrise. Oh the beauty of God’s creation is beyond description. As I watched, I praised God for His beautiful work. As I sat there, I felt the Lord’s presence with me. He asked me, "Do you love me?" I answered, "Of course, God! You are my Lord and Saviour!"
Then He asked, "If you were physically handicapped, would you still love me?" I was perplexed. I looked down upon my arms, legs and the rest of my body and wondered how many things I wouldn’t be able to do, the things that I took for granted. And I answered, "It would be tough Lord, but I would still love You."
Then the Lord said, "If you were blind, would you still love my creation?" How could I love something without being able to see it? Then I thought of all the blind people in the world and how many of them still loved God and His creation. So I answered, "It’s hard to think of it, but I would still love you."
The Lord then asked me, "If you were deaf, would you still listen to my word?" How could I listen to anything being deaf? Then I understood. Listening to God’s Word is not merely using our ears, but our hearts. I answered, "It would be tough, but I would still listen to Your word."
The Lord then asked, "If you were mute, would you still praise My Name?" How could I praise without a voice? Then it occurred to me: God wants us to sing from our very heart and soul. It never matters what we sound like. And praising God is not always with a song, but when we are persecuted, we give God praise with our words of thanks. So I answered, "Though I could not physically sing, I would still praise Your Name."
And the Lord asked, "Do you really love Me?" With courage and a strong conviction, I answered boldly, "Yes Lord! I love You because You are the one and true God!" I thought I had answered well, but God asked, "THEN WHY DO YOU SIN?" I answered, "Because I am only human. I am not perfect." "THEN WHY IN TIMES OF PEACE DO YOU STRAY THE FURTHEST? WHY ONLY IN TIMES OF TROUBLE DO YOU PRAY IN EARNEST?"
I had no answers. Only tears.
The Lord continued: "Why only sing at fellowships and retreats? Why seek Me only in times of worship? Why ask things so selfishly? Why ask things so unfaithfully?"