Does God answer prayer? That question is often asked by people. Sometimes, even Christians wonder how effective prayer “really” is. Too often, prayer is the absolute last resort in facing a problem. Prayer seems, well, too easy or too magical. David knew that all such doubts were foolishness, and prayer was the FIRST thing that he turned to in times of crisis.
In fact, if anyone was an expert on problems, it was David! How did he survive and prosper? How did he keep going? Today, the world seems to fall in when an unexpected bill arrives, the IRS decides to audit our return, or the car breaks down. But how would WE deal with years of being a fugitive, fighting numerous wars, seeing several children killed, and friends betray us? How strong would OUR faith be? Would we endure the trials that David faced? The answer would be “yes!”, IF we centered our faith and trust in God through prayer.
David knew that God answered prayer. In Psalm 40 David began to write, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the. slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” Yes, David knew God answered prayer because he had answered his prayers!
“Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust…”. Blessed indeed are all people who place their trust in the Lord today! In Jesus Christ, there is the hope and promise of eternal life. However, trust must always be joined with faith and obedience. If we are sick and go to the doctor for help, we have a trust that the doctor can help us. If the doctor prescribes some medicine and says, “Take this and you will get well”, then we are expected to take the medicine in obedience to the doctor’s instructions. If we do not, then all the trust in the world may not help to make us well.
“Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust…” That is true if there is also the COMMITMENT to do His will. The nations of Israel and Judah made the fatal error of believing that God would protect them without the need for obedience. But that type of thinking was never God’s will.
With trust and obedience, there comes another factor that is equally important. “I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly”. Joined with trust and obedience must be a joyful, expressive LOVE for the Lord. As the Ark of the Covenant was carried into Jerusalem, David led the procession of thousands with music and dancing. David himself danced before the Lord. Paul wrote that he was not ashamed of the Gospel.
True, pure love is not hidden in the dark. It is proclaimed, it is lived, it is appreciated, and it is shared. Faith, trust, and love will never mature without the willingness to share that with others. If Christians would heed the example of David, there would not be enough room for all the people to come worship the Lord on the Lord’s day.
Verse 12 makes David’s words even more significant, “For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.” The point is that David’s assurance and thankfulness for God’s response to his prayers did not come after all the trouble was over. No, in the midst of the trials he was facing, David still wrote his words of trust.
How different from today. Too often, people will try to bargain with God. “If you take care of my troubles, then I will praise you.” But God is NOT a servant waiting to meet a person’s needs. David knew that God would help him, and he also knew that he was in no position to bargain with the Supreme Creator of the Universe. Yes, Christians can approach their heavenly Father with confidence. But that confidence must be coupled with reverence, love, and trust.
Does God hear the prayers of His children? Yes! Are prayers effective? Yes!