Sometimes the brutal honesty of prayers recorded in the Bible make my prayers seem shallow and sanitized.
Exhibit A: Psalm 22.
Verse 1. “My God, my God, why have you FORSAKEN me? Why are you so FAR from saving me?”
There is more raw emotion than religious pretense in this prayer. Since God already knows everything, I don’t think he is particularly bothered by the psalmist’s blunt and honest prayer. And he probably won’t be bothered if we pray with a little honesty either.
The psalmist used two intense words and two semi-accusations to describe how he felt about his relationship with God.
Why have you FORSAKEN?
Why are you so FAR?
Do you ever feel forsaken? Do you ever admit it to God? Does he ever feel far? Do you ever ask him why?
Sometimes our temptations, failures, and circumstances are screaming that God has FORSAKEN us. Sometimes our sin, shame, and guilt make him feel FAR far away.
If verse one describes your reality, keep reading.
Verse 2. “O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.”
That didn’t help. Keep reading. . .
Verse 3. “Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.”
When we feel FORSAKEN and when God seems FAR away, in reality, he is still HOLY, and he is still ENTHRONED. My feelings and my experiences do not change who he is.
If your circumstances are such that you feel forsaken and God feels far away, remind yourself that he is still HOLY, and he is still on the THRONE.
And remind yourself that on the cross, Jesus was forsaken so we can be forgiven.