Does God answer prayer? Is there any real value in praying to a God you can't see? Does prayer really work? These are common questions for many people, even though they hold a belief in God.
We may believe God answered our prayers in the past, but still have doubts. This is the nature of prayer and faith. Both require trust in a living God.
The secret to understanding prayer is found in relationship with God, rather than having right beliefs about God.
Answer me when I pray, O God, my defender! When I was in trouble, you helped me. Be kind to me now and hear my prayer.
How long will you people insult me? How long will you love what is worthless and go after what is false? Remember that the Lord has chosen the righteous for his own, and he hears me when I call to him. [vss 1-3]
Tremble with fear and stop sinning; think deeply about this, when you lie in silence on your beds. Offer the right sacrifices to the Lord, and put your trust in him.
There are many who pray: “Give us more blessings, O Lord. Look on us with kindness!” But the joy that you have given me is more than they will ever have with all their grain and wine.
When I lie down, I go to sleep in peace; you alone, O Lord, keep me perfectly safe. [vss 4-8]
(Psalm 4:1-8 GNT) [Context– Psalm 4]
Key phrase— When I was in trouble, you helped me
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Review the Scriptures above as you answer the following questions
What do you see in the opening lines of this psalm? Do you see how the appeal to God includes a confidence in God?
Who else seems to be addressed in this prayerful psalm? What is King David reminding them about?
What advice is given? What does the psalmist encourage people to do?
What else is said about prayer? What assurance does the psalmist have? Why does he have this assurance?
Many people struggle with how to approach God in prayer. They may wonder things like—How much faith do I need? Does my life need to be free from sin before God hears my prayer?
King David, the author of many psalms, did not live a perfect, sin-free life. In fact, the book of 2 Samuel reveals his struggles with moral failure. And yet, God said that David was a man after His own heart (Acts 13:22). Why? David had a genuine, personal and confident trust in God.
Even in dire circumstances, even when he had doubts and fear, King David had a confidence and trust in God. He prayed with authentic faith.
He understood that the "right" sacrifice was offering himself to God in complete and utter trust (Psalm 51:17; Rom 12:1).
Make it personal...
Read through the Scripture text again as you consider and answer these questions
Do you struggle with doubts about prayer? Do still trust God in spite of your doubts?
When you have a conflict or unresolved problem with others, do you bring these to God in prayer?
What is more important to you in prayer—answers, or knowing the presence of God?
Have you come to trust the Lord enough to know His peace in your heart?
Would you like a free study guide for your study of Psalms?