July 20: The Strategic Place of Prayer in Crisis

Read: Psalm 22:5-21; Matthew 26:39; James 5:13

Whatever you may think of the movie “The Crucifixion of the Christ” (Mel Gibson),  I think the scene at the foot of the cross got a lot right. Looking down from the cross, Jesus sees a vile-looking “humanoid” (Satan) circling through the crowd. The creature’s sneering grin grows deeper as each breath of the Savior becomes more labored. Satan’s ancient plan will soon be realized.

Poetic license? Not so fast. But to find the source text one must leave the gospels and go to the Psalms of David. Psalm 22, the prophetic account of the crucifixion, reads: a band of evil men has encircled me.…”

"a band of evil men has encircled me..."

“a band of evil men has encircled me…”

“Bulls surround me…roaring lions open their mouths wide against me…dogs have surrounded me.…” Horrific. Evil.

The psalm continues, recounting the future prayers of the dying Lamb of God from the cross, “But you, O Lord, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me. Deliver my life from the sword…Rescue me from the mouth of the lions….”

Surely Heaven and Hell met at the cross! In a lesser but very real way the same is true during any crisis. Crisis brings people to their most vulnerable; and that’s where Heaven and Hell rush in but for completely opposite purposes.

Our only weapon to wield, as demonstrated here by Jesus, is prayer which penetrates the veil, touching the heart of the Father and breaking the resolve of the evil one. Prayer – simple, desperate and earnest. Only prayer.

DELIVERANCE SOUGHT THROUGH PRAYER
[PAUL] Three times Paul prayed for God to remove his thorn in the flesh.

[JOSEPH] The Bible records none of Joseph’s prison prayers except those requesting wisdom to interpret dreams, but we know Joseph prayed constantly to be delivered from prison.

[JOB] Job sweetly yielded to God’s will, offering up almost super-human prayers to Him who “gives and takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”

James agrees, writing simply, “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray…”

VICTORY WON
All four would affirm that their prayers were answered, though the answers looked different from their requests:

  • Jesus still was made sin, but rose in victory, opening the way between God and man.
  • Paul was granted sufficient grace…but not healing.
  • For years God’s answer to Joseph was not release from prison but favor in the eyes of those in authority over him.
  • Job was vindicated before his “comforters,” but his losses were real.

THOUGHT TO PONDER: Is a prayer really answered if the answer looks different from the request?

– barb

What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment.

About barbwooler

I have worked as Encompass World Partners staff since 1985. I served among the Bayaka Pygmy people of the Central African Republic as well as with orphans and widows. I am presently serving as Director of Crisis Response where I get to see God at work through hardship. I love the outdoors and among my favorite hobbies are cycling and bird watching.
This entry was posted in Crucible of Crisis, Matthew, Psalms and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to July 20: The Strategic Place of Prayer in Crisis

  1. Tony Osimo says:

    This is an interesting question! I believe God answers all prayer according to His will, not according to our expectations. Often times He meets our expectations, however, like the examples given, Gods perspective goes beyond the here and now. He is making a bride for Himself and Holy Eternal Temple and while we have yet to see and experience this it is and will be….we know this by faith. From this perspective we can see that God does answer all prayer for our ultimate good and His glory which we can’t conceive while only living in time. When we get to the heavenly kingdom and the prayer of John 17 is fully realized, we will see fully how God in eternity answered our prayers we petitioned Him with in time.

  2. barbwooler says:

    Well said, Tony.

  3. KellySue Tobias says:

    Going the gammit of life hardships, childhood~parental rejection, single adulthood~ floundering without stability in guidance, devestating marriage,danger to children~cursed by non believer~ picking up pieces, school, work, raising four sons, then daughter on way in sigleness, carreer, home and now marriage, boys grown, loose sight of his deliverance and his strength that got me through, remeberance even though all those trials are behind me, His Saving Grace keeps me and holds me and continues in Living Water

  4. barbwooler says:

    That about sums it up, KellySue. God’s grace holds is up and brings us through.

  5. kelleepel says:

    My pastor once told me what his definition of prayer was, he said “Prayer is simply exchanging my broken perspective for God’s Devine perspective”. Now, of course, I believe that prayer is more than just the exchange but when you get to the root of the prayer, we simply need a perspective change. I, however, can attest that that does not come easy or come at a time or way that we may not understand. and THAT is when we just have to Trust our Creator. His perspective is so much better than mine and one that most followers of Christ strive for, so yes, I do believe a prayer is answered even if the outcome is not what was prayed for.

  6. barbwooler says:

    I love that definition of prayer. Rich. Thanks for sharing kellepel.

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