I love having conversations about Sabbath. It all started with an Old Testament course in university and reading some material from a Jewish Rabbi that put it all together and it made sense. Sabbath is about rest but it really is also about trusting in God’s provisions for each day, for today. It is the heeding of God’s commandment of being observant about God’s own cycle of work and rest that makes this relevant even in our modern economy.
You have six days in which to do your work. Deuteronomy 5:13 GNT
How will God supply when I need to hold a job that needs me seven days a week (or two or three jobs), clean the house/yard, grocery shopping/prepare meals, school work and paying bills? Can I trust God to provide even when I take a day off? Can I take time to worship God, to pray and to gather with others for study and encouragement? I love this commandment because it does not explain how God will make it all work out, it simply tells me to rest one day every seven.
Prayer begins this conversation, as it did in most of our Psalms.
Lord God, my savior, I cry out all day,
and at night I come before you. – Psalm 88:1 GNT
When life gets messy it never gets messy enough that the sparks of prayer are blown out. They become prayers that I cry out, they are very personal. Sickness will not let me rest unless I spend my restlessness in prayer. It becomes something I do all day. It is where evil is transformed to good. I need to bring them to the Father – my cry is meant for the heart of God.
Hear my prayer;
listen to my cry for help! – Psalm 88:2 GNT
Though it may be imperfect – hear it – it is my prayer. I understand that there may be obstacles in the way that may impede my prayer – Lord remove them – I need your favour. When I pray day and night, I am in a place where I cannot lose. Only if I were indifferent in my prayer would I be indifferent about it’s outcome.
So many troubles have fallen on me
that I am close to death. – Psalm 88:3 GNT
How bad are things, how far have I fallen into despair, how full is my heart? There is no room left to have my prayers return empty when my soul is so full of grief. And so I pray believing…
Lord, have mercy on us. We have put our hope in you. Protect us day by day and save us in times of trouble. – Isaiah 33:2 GNT
I have the opportunity of waking up every morning to approach the God of the universe and pray for mercy and to put my hope in Him to protect and to save me. God hears that prayer. He will help me in every way I need help. I cannot think of what it would be like if I ever felt like I did not need to pray like those in the church of Laodicea.
You say, ‘I am rich and well off; I have all I need.’ But you do not know how miserable and pitiful you are! You are poor, naked, and blind. – Revelation 3:17 GNT
It would seem that they thought they could do it on their own, they had everything they needed and may very well have come to a place where prayer did not happen because they were not pursuing God. When I do not pray, I am showing that I believe I am self-sufficient. Is prayerlessness not an indicator of pride? If I am in a place where I can do things on my own, why would I pray? Praying people need God’s help, need Him to provide, not only for me but for others too.
When, after this preparation, you find yourselves yet perplexed and entangled, not able comfortably to persist in spiritual thoughts unto your refreshment, take these two directions for your relief:
1. Cry and sigh to God for help and relief. Bewail the darkness, weakness, and instability of your minds, so as to groan within yourselves for deliverance. And if your designed meditations do issue only in a renewed gracious sense of your own weakness and insufficiency, with application unto God for supplies of strength, they are by no means lost as unto a spiritual account.
2. Supply the brokenness of your thoughts with ejaculatory prayers, according as either the matter of them or your defect in the management of them doth require. – Owen