This is a pastoral prayer based on the questions and difficulties of the psalmist. I paired with a message on John 11:1-37 (verses 38-57 will be addressed next week).
1 How long will you forget me, LORD? Forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long will I be left to my own wits,
agony filling my heart? Daily?
How long will my enemy keep defeating me?
Faithful God, we stand with prophets and kings as we ask, “How long?” How long will fear rule in our hearts? How long until we find rest? How long until this illness goes away? How long until grief isn’t a constant companion? And if we are not asking, “How long?” then we are asking, “Why?”
So often our questions seem unanswered; too often you seem silent. We wonder how that can be when you said you would never leave us – that you would abide in us.
3 Look at me!
Answer me, LORD my God!
Restore sight to my eyes!
Otherwise, I’ll sleep the sleep of death,
4 and my enemy will say, “I won!”
My foes will rejoice over my downfall.
Loving God, at times we know we can endure if only we knew how long. If only we knew why. We long to have the sight that you have – to understand, to find reason and purpose.
5 But I have trusted in your faithful love.
My heart will rejoice in your salvation.
6 Yes, I will sing to the LORD
because he has been good to me.
God of Creation, it is easy for us to forget that you are the creator of time. You give us time to enjoy the beautiful things of life. Time to appreciate the world you created. Time to hold and be held by those we love.
You also provide time so that we may learn to trust in the midst of suffering. Time to reconcile broken relationships. Time to repent. Time for our suffering to be redeemed for your glory.
God of our salvation, we will still ask, “How long?” but regardless of your response, let us also respond with praise for your faithful and eternal love. Love that even became flesh so that we would know the depth and breadth of your love for us. Love that invites us to pray together, saying, Our Father…
God of our salvation, we will still ask, “How long?” but regardless of your response, let us also respond with praise for your faithful and eternal love. Click To Tweet
If you are interested in more prayers like this, consider checking out my book:
Prayers for the People: Scripturally Based Prayers for WorshipPrayers for the People is a collection of prayers for worship. These prayers offer the worshipping community fresh perspectives for praying the words of Scripture, using current language and references. Cross-referenced to the Revised Common Lectionary, pastors seeking to lead their people in prayer have found a relevant and beautiful source for worship planning.