August 7, 2023
“My God, whom I praise,
do not remain silent,
for people who are wicked and deceitful
have opened their mouths against me;
they have spoken against me with lying tongues.
With words of hatred they surround me;
they attack me without cause.
In return for my friendship they accuse me,
but I am a man of prayer.“
By habit, I’ve learned that the Psalms are often a good cliff from which I am usually able to jump into prayer. I open to Psalm 109. I get warmed up and find the Psalmist trying to rouse the God who never sleeps, or at least get him to speak up because his life has become flanked with treacherous backstabbing.
His life has become a stew of betrayal boiling in a cauldron of hatred. Consolation is no place near. “In return for my friendship, they accuse me…” He can’t catch a break. Even his best buds have joined in the alienating assault that his life has become. And then, instead of chocolate cake, or a look into the national treasury (over which he presides), or a consideration of all that is right in his life, he says this weird phrase:
“But I am a man of prayer.”
Huh? What’s that got to do with anything? A man of prayer? Seriously? That weird phrase instructs me. It also emboldens me.
Would it shock us if we heard a business or political leader make such a statement? Wouldn’t their advisors remind them, “There’s money to be made, customers who need things, clients to be accommodated—let those harmless religious folk do their praying. I have to live in the real world.”
But, the author of this Psalm, I have to remind myself, was the King of Israel. He wasn’t just some guy with nothing to do and nothing to worry about. He was the Head of State.
And Jesus too, the One we consider reigning King of the Universe and Savior of the entire planet—he was chided by well-meaning cabinet members who couldn’t find him while he was at prayer (cf. Mark 1) when they said, “everyone is looking for you”—in other words, there’s important work to be done!” But Jesus was off praying on a mountainside somewhere.
Huh? Strange isn’t it?
I don’t know many folks who would console themselves with the seemingly mad moniker “man of prayer.” But I’m starting to think it’s a worthwhile consolation. May that weird phrase make us a weird people who actually trust the reigning Christ to make all that is sad come untrue, and then give ourselves in all our work, play, and relationships to being living depictions of his benevolent and prayer-hearing, reign!
So while the world seems intent on driving itself drunk with its unbelief, violence, unforgiveness, and flurry, I am hoping we’ll have many men, women, and children of prayer. It might just be one of our best gifts to the world.
Eric Youngblood is the Pastor of Rock Creek Fellowship in Rising Fawn, Georgia.