Summary: When the Jews were slaves in Egypt, and when the labor became unbearable they sighed under the weight of their burdens. God heard their sighs and counted them a strong prayers for deliverance and moved mightily on their behalf.
The Strength of Weak Prayers
Pastor Dan Little
The Landmark Church - Binghamton, NY
Psalms 12:5 "Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise," says the Lord; "I will place him in the safety for which he longs."
The Psalmist gives us a picture of God rising at the sound of the groaning of the needy.
Many of the more effective prayers recorded in the Bible are anything but eloquent. They are little more than groans. They seem weak and totally lacking in confidence.
And yet such prayers were used to bring down kings and kingdoms and disintegrated military might.
These kinds of prayers and Jesus’ statement to Paul have the fact of human weakness in common.
2 Corinthians 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." ESV
One of the myths that hold us back from entering into prayer is that real prayer must be eloquent, theologically brilliant, well organized, and clearly understandable—i.e., professional.
A simple reading the Scriptures will shatter that myth. Look at children of Israel.
Exodus 2:23 Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. 24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.
God heard their groaning and God knew!
Ever see the documentary THE MARCH OF THE PENGUINS? Multiplied thousands of emperor penguins producing many thousands of chicks, raising them in -50o F weather with winds up to 100 miles an hour.
They all look exactly alike; the mates know each other only by voice recognition—ten thousand birds and they recognize one voice out of them all.
Same for their chicks, out of thousands of chicks they come back from fishing with food to feed their one chick and they find it by voice recognition.
The God who knew you before you were born knows the sound of your voice. Let Him hear it often.
Psalms 55:17 Evening and morning and at noon
I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.
18 He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me.
19 God will give ear and humble them, he who is enthroned from of old, ESV
Think back to God hearing Israel’s cries for help. These prayers were not well-formed, well thought-out prayers. They were practicing an oral tradition. They were simply groaning under the crushing weight of hard bondage.
The day that my younger brother died suddenly and unexpectedly my wife told me that I groaned all that night in my sleep to such an extent she feared I was having a heart attack. I have no recollection of it.
I doubt that the Israelites were keenly aware of their groaning and sighing. And almost certainly they did not see themselves as being engaged in prayer.
And surely their task masters never thought “This groaning will be Egypt’s undoing.” So the slaves were allowed to go right on groaning all they wanted.
But God heard their voice though it came to not by way of eloquence or calm professionalism, but by way of groaning. The sound rose up before Him as weighty pleas for deliverance from powers much, much greater than themselves. And we know the results; Deuteronomy 26:8 And the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders”
The Lord wants to release us to pray unapologetically out of deep need. The sound of our voice touches His heart and draws Him to come to our side. He hears and knows.
Praying out of need is hard for Americans because we are able to cloak our true neediness with an abundance of stuff and entertainment that keeps us busy and unaware of our situation.
For us praying out of need is almost embarrassing, less than sophisticated.
In third world countries you will find woman begging for food for their children. Their need has swept away all pretense of control. They approach you directly with the sign that they and their child are in need of food. All pretence of sophisticated control is gone.
To all the world prayers that rise out of deep need may sound weak, ineffective, worthless, even embarrassing to hear, but these are the groans referred to in Exodus 2:23 as “…the cry of the Hebrews for rescue from slavery.”
These are the prayers that caused God to “…remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.”
Day four, of the Seek God for the City prayer devotional urges us to FORSAKE THE FALSEHOOD OF RELYING ON PEOPLE, SYSTEMS AND POWERS INSTEAD OF GOD.