Reflection I’m not sure how many Daily Devotions readers would want to stake their life on their prayer life. It isn’t always a hot topic of conversation around the URC. If your life depended upon your prayers, how would you fare? I heard a story about a ship that was sinking in the middle of the ocean and the captain called out to everyone on board, “Does anybody here believe in prayer?”
And one person said, “Yes, Captain, I do.”
“Wonderful, we’ll all put our life jackets on and you can pray, because we’re one life jacket short.”
I’m not certain that I would want to be the one on that ship without a life jacket praying and depending only on prayer. But there is a challenge to us in this Psalm. Ought to be more confident not in our own ability to pray but in God’s ability to hear us and to respond? This is why the Psalmist, despite clearly having been through some awful situation, is confident in thanking God for hearing his prayers.
Many people tell me that they’re quite uncomfortable about praying, or that prayer is one of the most difficult things in living a Christian life. When Michael Ramsay was Archbishop of Canterbury he was asked how long he prayed for each morning. He replied that he prayed for one minute, but it took him up to half an hour to prepare for that one minute.
Today’s Psalm encourages and challenges us to pray, and not only to pray, but to pray with confidence and therefore pray more because we have confidence.
Prayer Loving God, Give me strength: strength to hold on, and strength to let do. Amen.
The Rev’d Dr Michael Hopkins is minister of a group of Methodist and United Reformed Churches in and around Farnham, Surrey, and Clerk of the General Assembly.