by Joshua Arnold, Class of 2021
Psalm 77:1-2 (ESV)
"I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me. In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted."
Everyone experiences various forms of difficulty or hardship in their lifetime; it is one of the unfortunate realities of living in a fallen world. When such times arise, it is important that we continue to remain diligent in our prayers. But how should we respond when our prayers seem to go unanswered?
Such appears to be the case for Asaph, the author of this psalm. Verses one and two indicate that Asaph is undergoing very intense sorrow, and he cries out to God day and night, yet his soul "refuses to be comforted." Nevertheless, Asaph continues to "seek the Lord," his hands "stretched out without wearying," even though he has received no apparent answer from God.
How can Asaph do this? How can he continue to press on in his prayers when they seem to have no effect? The answer lies at the end of verse one: "and he will hear me." In the midst of his hardship, the only thing that is able to sustain Asaph is his knowledge of God's character. he understands that unanswered prayer is not the same as unheard prayer. He knows that God is aware of his situation and listens to his cries. Armed with this knowledge, Asaph continues to pray.
The key to persistence in prayer, even in the midst of hardship, is to rely on your knowledge of who God is. The next time your prayers seem to go unanswered, remind yourself of His goodness. remember that He is aware of your struggles, and that your circumstances have not surprised Him. Trust that He has a plan and a purpose for you, even if you cannot see it, and take solace in the fact that He can work out all things for your good and His glory. Most of all, remind yourself of His love for you, which He demonstrated on the cross. When you do this, you will certainly find the motivation to pray.