There is a great deal being said today about prayer, but sadly there is so very little praying. And when people do pray they normally look for an answer, a “yes” or a “no.” But in spite of what is being taught to many believers today, the deepest answer to prayer isn’t found in a voice, a longed for “yes” or a dreaded “no.” The most profound answer comes in the form of a supportive hand.
Now again, this is not what most people are taught. Many believe that if you pray through the night then in the morning there will be an answer-whatever that answer might be. At least that is what I was taught for most of my life. You ask, He answers. That’s the way that it is supposed to work.
But the Psalmist begs to differ. He says that his best hope for prayer isn’t a “yes” or a “no.” In fact, he tells me that God answers His anointed ones not with a voice, but with a hand. He doesn’t even answer directly. More often than not He answers indirectly. There are no parted skies filled with the songs of angels. There are no flashes from horizon to horizon in the sky – no gleam of glory. And yet, in the heart of His anointed there comes a strange strength, an indescribable, almost unusual, peace.
It might not have come on suddenly or in a flash. As a matter of fact, you might have missed it at first since you were so concentrated on it coming in another form or fashion. In fact, it didn’t seem to come from without supernaturally, but rather it seemed to grow up naturally, as if it were part of you. There was nothing about it that seemed superhuman or divine. That’s why you almost missed it. It wasn’t at all like the answer to your prayer that you thought you would receive. It was actually woven into your very life – but looking back it was without a doubt God’s messenger to you. His response today to your cry yesterday.
You spoke to God through the front door, but He answered you through another. You opened the front, He came through the back. You asked for Him to lift you from this world, but He gave you the power to live in this one. You longed for a song, instead He sent you the saving, supportive strength of His right hand.
In my personal walk and fellowship with the Father have learned to accept the same kind of answer that was given to Jesus. The cup wasn’t allowed to pass, but rather His angel came. He came through the back door when Jesus was weeping at the front. As a matter of fact, the angel even came before the tears had even stopped. The answer to His prayer entered unseen. It came in the hour of great sorrow. It grew while His tears were falling. But when it became full-grown there was a supreme calm and an indescribable peace.
I will now wish, and look, for this unusual prayer that the Psalmist describes. When I open my heart up to the Lord and and pour my heart before Him in tears, I will now consider that the answer has already come. I will look closer, not farther away, to find it. I will look for it in the clearing of the cloud – in the spilling of the cup. When I am looking forward, I will try not forget the back door. I will seek to remember that as unusual as it may seem, His greatest triumph was found in a garden. That’s why I don’t need a new cup, but rather a new hand. One that will keep my cup from trembling and spilling. I ask today for the power to hold it steady. I long for a hand to stop my hand from shaking. I pray that not one drop falls idly from the cup I carry. I pray to receive His cup in His garden and with it the power of His peace. My prayers will ultimately be answered in the unusual way that His was.