How do I know God is even hearing my prayers? Is it more effective to pray aloud or to pray silently? Is it practicable in our days and time to pray continually throughout the day? I actually don’t have any interest in praying or find prayer quiet boring, is there something wrong with me? What if I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed about an issue and nothing has happened, do I still just continue praying? When should I stop praying about an issue I have prayed about for so many years yet there has been no answer?
Have you ever asked God or someone close to you any or some of these questions? From time to time, our minds overflow with questions for God. Some we voice out, some we suppress or are quiet about. Delays in getting the desired results we want can lead us to ask God some very direct and interesting questions. In one instance when David felt totally abandoned, he asked God “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? (Psalm 13:1). In another instance when he was overwhelmed by the awesomeness and goodness of God, he asked God “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:4). At another time when he felt God was slow on executing judgment on his persecutors and tormentors, he asked God “O Lord, how long will you look on? Then went on to pray, “Rescue my life from their ravages, my precious life from these lions (Psalm 35:17).
These moments David went through, are familiar to some if not all of us. Maybe like David you have been praying about an issue or problem for years and you haven’t gotten the answer you so desperately need and you are wondering if God is ever going to answer your prayer. When we have believed God for a particular thing for some time and have not seen any changes or positive results, it’s so easy to become anxious, discouraged, frustrated, and in some cause actually plunge into depression. At such times, the best thing to do for yourself is to praise God. At first it may not be easy, you may struggle with what to say, you may not even believe in what you are doing or saying, but just keep at it. It helps if you can also tell yourself some hard truths. Twice in Psalm 42, David asked himself this question “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God (Psalm 42:5, 11). What was he doing? He was telling himself some hard truths. Truths like my being disturbed, my not eating, my tossing and turning throughout the night because of this problem is it going to solve the problem? He was telling himself, everything around me, everything happening to me wants to convince me that God isn’t real, God doesn’t answer prayers, God isn’t even concerned about what I am going through, but I refuse to believe those lies of the devil. Instead I will shake off that spirit of despair and give God praise. I will praise My Saviour and my God until something happens.
Something always happens when we stop focusing on problems, challenges and obstacles before us and praise God genuinely from our heart. The reason why sometimes it is hard to worship and praise God is because we don’t have on the apparel or outfit for praise. Imagine someone who says he is travelling to the moon on some scientific expedition and instead of a spacesuit puts on a vest, leggings and rubber slippers. Right from his house, people will tell him that he is a big joker. We see from God’s Word that there are so many types of spiritual outfits people are putting on that they aren’t even aware of. These outfits are a big barrier to progress and to receiving some of the things God wants to give us. Some people have on filthy garments even though in the physical realm they may be wearing a sparkling white shirt (Zechariah 3:1-5). Some others are wearing a garment of shame or dishonour (Psalm 109:29).
We need God to put on us a garment of praise (Isaiah 61:3). It is this garment that strengthens and helps us to praise God until something happens. It is the garment that wards off discouragement and depression and keeps you trusting God against all odds (Psalm 42:5, 11). It is the garment that totally confuses all the enemies of your soul. It makes them do foolish things like shifting their attention from you and fighting themselves instead of you (2 Chronicles 20:22). It makes doors open on their own accord without anyone turning the knob or opening the lock of the door (Acts 16:25-26). Interestingly, it is the garment that makes God arise from His throne of glory to favour you, vindicate you, and execute judgment on the enemies of your destiny (Psalm 132:7-8, Psalm 102:13).
Joshua the high priest found himself in a critical situation. It looked like he would never get what he wanted from God. In that dark moment of his life, God in His mercy gave a divine instruction that the filthy garments he was wearing which was hindering the answers to his prayers, be removed and replaced with rich, beautiful, clean garments (Zechariah 3:3-5). This month, the Lord in His mercy will give a divine instruction for His angels to remove every garment of sorrow, shame and frustration from you and clothe you with a garment of praise. And as you praise God like never before, something will definitely happen.