By Jason T. Ingram
Prayer 911 – The Prayer of Desperation
Hear me when I cry
The book of Psalms are full of the prayers of desperate people in desperate situations. They were in war, division and even depression; so their intellectual capability of remembering traditions and teachings on prayer were not such an issue, but a time of pouring one’s heart out before heaven like a child that has fallen down crying out to a parent for comfort. In the Psalms you hear this phrase a lot: “Hear my cry” or similar phrases. Its OK to cry to God. Sometimes that’s the only Person you can cry to at times.
God knows the state of human beings, and we all have times of being so overwhelmed, we may say things based on our feelings alone, and not based on much truth. I don’t believe that God will turn away such a plea.
Have you ever called 911? I have. I know that I am calling someone who has had a lot of training in the area of working with distraught folks that are in crisis. The caller does not have to use a calm collected voice, using complete sentences and be making total sense in order to get help. The 911 employee understands that. But we should not be calling 911 every day.
There are times though, that when the praying Christian is in a right state of mind and heart that we are to pray according to what we know, and not based on feelings. If 911 type praying is all that goes up from a believer to heaven, perhaps there can be other forms of prayer that can be answered more effectively like:
-Praise and worship
-Intercession, praying for others
-Praying through scripture
-Prayers against world forces of darkness
-Praying in tongues, etc...
Are you afflicted? Pray now!
Why wait? Pray now. Seek the Lord while the Lord may be found like in Isaiah 55. Don’t wait to feel better. Don’t do good things to feel better about bad things you may have done, cry out for God’s mercy and be cleansed from all guilt. Pray if you are a straight person, pray if you are a lesbian, a gay man, bi or transgendered. Pray if you are not a Christian. Call on the name of Jesus not matter what religious beliefs you may hold to. Pray if you are mad at Christians, mad at yourself, or even mad at God. Pray in your car, in the alley, in your bed, or at your computer. Pray standing, kneeling, walking, sitting or lying down. Pray if you are running from a dangerous situation. Anyone can. You can.
The one word prayer of desperation
Have you ever heard of a major disaster where folks cry out in desperation? I bet you will hear this one word:
As someone who deals with mental illness I have come to know this prayer quite well. “Jesus” is sometimes all I can say when I am in trouble. That’s all I know how to do sometimes. When I am out of control and paralyzed with fear, even though I teach on prayer, I forget all I know about prayer and nearly abandon my faith at times. This is where I simply call on the name of Jesus. Its like calling on your Mom who is in the next room as a child in need. A name can summon a person. When you call on the name of Jesus, you have the Person of Jesus there with you.
Grab the manual
Industrial work places should train their new employees to know where the eye wash and the MSDS is. First, get the chemical out of your eyes, then you learn about the hazardous stuff that got there. The Material Safety Data Sheet is the manual of all the chemicals used in the plant. It is in a handy place like a fire extinguisher, or an emergency exit.
Just like the prayer of desperation, the other thing to do is grab a Bible if one is handy. I like to carry Bibles with me most places I go. I keep a few little New Testaments with Psalms in my bag. I have a few Bibles in my bedroom, family room and studio. Sometimes I flip through a Bible waiting for something to “pop” out at me, or perhaps I have marked a page or underlined some passages that speak to me.
Be a Psalm reader
Reading the Psalms out loud has a tremendous way of dispelling the darkness that tries to surround you. A Psalm of praise, like the last five in the book of Psalms, or Psalm 18, 27, 34, 91 etc... can break a spiritual black cloud that may be trying to get you away from God. The book of Psalms is nearly in the middle of the Bible and has 150 chapters. Its big, easy to find and there is a lot of powerful inspired words, even if they don’t make sense.
One note about this: when you see writings in the Old Testament, especially the book of Psalms that speak about enemies, remember that since Christ, under this New Covenant of love, we are dealing with dark spiritual enemies, not people. Jesus commands us to love our enemies, not curse them. We can and we should pray against demons though. So get out your Emanuel Manual and use this “Sword of the Spirit” and the name of Jesus to get you out of your desperate situation.
The Bible, especially Psalms
About the picture:
"Broken" By Jason Ingram, oils on canvas 2005