I Call to God

Scott McChrystal 2 Peter 9/11 actions christian encouragement faith fear future God

Prayer is a powerful spiritual weapon. Somehow, however, many people in the U.S. don’t believe this. Some have worked hard to take God out of public life.

I’m convinced if you make prayer a regular priority in your life, you will see results. You will know God better, see growth in your own life, and witness amazing answers in the lives of people and situations you pray for.

Let’s do some time travel today, about 3,000 years’ worth. We find ourselves in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. The king of Israel is David. To say that he is involved in a struggle to maintain his leadership is an understatement. He’s fighting for his life.

Some background is helpful. David has officially been king about 30 years. But now his son Absalom, with the support of a man who had served faithfully for years as David’s personal counselor, is challenging him for the throne. What we have is story of treachery and betrayal. As you can imagine, this is tearing away at David—physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Just to remind you. David is a battle-hardened warrior who killed the giant Goliath. He led Israel in many military campaigns against fierce hostile nations and subdued them. But now the tide has changed. He is like a wearied animal on the run fighting for his life.

How is David feeling? What is going on in his mind? Psalm 55 gives us an uncensored picture of David’s perspective on his situation. Most importantly, it graphically illustrates his strong faith and trust in God and his unshaking belief that the Lord hears and answers prayer.

The Psalm opens with heartfelt prayer: “Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught” (Psalm 55:1-2, NIV).

David is serious about his request, but it’s also obvious that he expects God will answer. Let me ask you, when you go to God in prayer, are you serious about your request and do you really believe that God will answer?

David is distraught, and he makes no effort to hide his feelings. Listen to what he says to the Lord. “My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught because of what my enemy is saying, because of the threats of the wicked; for they bring down suffering on me and assail me in their anger. My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen on me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me. I said, ‘Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. I would flee far away and stay in the desert; I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm’” (Psalm 55:2b-8).

This experienced warrior admits it openly—he’s terrified, and he spells out the reasons why. This man has never run from anything in his life, but now he admits to God that he wishes he had wings so he could escape to some distant place.

In tough situations, are you this transparent with God? Have you gone to the point of telling God you want to bail?

But David isn’t finished telling God the reasons for his pain. Now he references his son Absalom and his former personal counselor who are leading the plot to take the throne, even if it means killing David. We’ve all encountered people who act like enemies toward us. When the enemies come from your own camp, even your own family, that kind of betrayal causes indescribable hurt. How do you respond? More importantly, is this situation still eating your lunch? I want you to know that this doesn’t have to be the case. God can help.

David continues to pray. Understandably, he asks God to smoke his enemies. I imagine we’ve all done this at one time or another, especially when evil seems to surround us. But after David vents a bit, look at the next part of his prayer.

Verses 16-18 speak volumes about David’s relationship with God: “As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. He rescues me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me.”

David’s situation is grim to say the least:
• Enemies were trying to steal the throne from David, even to the point of taking his life.
• Leaders of the treacherous plot included his own son Absalom and David’s personal counselor. Think about it. How would you feel if your own child betrayed you and tried to kill you?
• David was exhausted—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. After 30 years of faithful service as king, it seemed like all hell was breaking loose.

The remaining lines of this Psalm reflect David’s faith and trust in God. And that trust ends up being absolutely rewarded. Not only are David’s enemies defeated, but he reigns for approximately 10 more years. He hands his throne to Solomon—not only a faithful son but considered to be the wisest man on earth.

So, let’s wrap this up by summarizing what we can learn from David as captured in Psalm 55. First, David is a man of prayer. He turns to God often, especially in crisis situations.

Secondly, he is transparent and vulnerable when he prays to God. He tries to hide nothing from the Lord.

Finally, he prays with sincere faith. He believes God can do anything. Scripture warns us that prayer without faith won’t work.

Do you question that you have enough faith when you pray? Listen to these words from Jesus to His followers: “The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’ He replied, ‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea,” and it will obey you’” (Luke 17:5-6).

Listen to me, my friends. There is absolutely no reason why you can’t become powerful in prayer. The Lord has given every one of us a measure of faith. Take that faith and apply it when you pray. You’ll see—the Lord will not only hear your prayer. He will answer!

In 1984 I was a chaplain candidate serving as a battalion chaplain at Ft. Lee. Our executive officer was a strong Catholic who had a son with serious heart problems. His son was due to have open heart surgery to repair a large hole in his heart. The dad asked me to go to the hospital the evening before the surgery and pray for his son. I gladly went.

At his son’s bedside, there were about 10-12 friends gathered. Finally, the time came to pray, and the dad looked at me. Before I could even start, his son interrupted and asked if he could pray. Of course, I said “yes.” Verbatim, here is what the boy prayed. “Lord, I pray that I survive.” No other words, no “Amen.”

Late the next morning I called the dad to see how the surgery was going. To my surprise, the dad told me. “He didn’t have the surgery. They took one more scan of his heart. No hole! It was completely gone!” God answered that young man’s prayer by doing a miracle.

God hasn’t changed. He hears and answers prayer, and He still does miracles.

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