Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies?- Selah –
But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him.
Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. -Selah-
Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.
There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. – Psalm 4 (ESV)
Prayer is conversation with God. The Psalms are timeless prayers given to us in the word of God. They are given to us to memorize and write on our hearts. They are prayers of praise, prayers of thanks, prayers of supplication, and prayers for those times when we are crushed in spirit and can’t find the words.
We learn much about the character of God, and how He reaches out to us when we study and pray the Psalms. God does hear and answer our prayers- though His answers aren’t always what we expect.
We all come into difficult times. Those difficulties are no secret to God. He knows our every need and He knows every detail about us. He knows our trials, He knows our thoughts, and He calls us to trust Him with everything.
Jesus said: “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:4-7 (ESV)
Fear in this context is a reverent respect. Jesus tells us to be aware of who we are made by and to whom we belong, and to whom we pray.
We aren’t telling God anything He doesn’t already know when we pray. He knows when we are distressed. He knows our anxiety, our anger, our need, and our distress already anyway, even if we aren’t comfortable admitting them to ourselves or bringing those not-so-nice things to Him.
Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent (Psalm 4:4)
God does not want us to deny our anger, but He does want us to keep from acting in anger. He wants us to live according to His will. We can trust Him even when we cannot trust others or ourselves. We can let Him deal with our anger. Yes we get angry and there is plenty of misery out in the world, and there are plenty of bad circumstances in our lives to be angry about…but…take those concerns and fear and worry and anger to God. Don’t deny what we feel, but don’t let feelings lead us into sins. Let God deal with that anger and frustration and pain instead. Let Him bring us His peace.
God who spoke the universe into being can deal with our anger- a LOT better than we can.
The Psalmist reminds us that God has brought us through past distress in our lives. We are reminded that God has named and claimed us for His own. We are reminded that we find our joy and our peace in God. Our very life is in His hands. We can trust Him with everything when we come to Him in prayer.
God who is the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient Creator of all, is also God of the sparrows, God who knows the number of hairs on our heads, God who comes to us in, with and through His Sacraments. The almighty God who suffered and died a cruel death on a Cross to save us from our sins, cares about every part of our lives.