“I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen years.” (Isaiah 38:5)
In the mid 1950s, I made a discovery about prayer. When two or three of us were concerned about Joe, who was not doing well spiritually, I observed God working in Joe’s life in dynamic ways. I concluded that we are praying even when we do not close our eyes, fold our hands and bow our heads. I discovered that prayer is the sincere desire of our soul no matter how we express it.
Martin Luther told us that the sigh of a believer is a prayer. He meant that when we come to the end of our hoarded resources and throw ourselves across a bed and sigh, or cry – that is a prayer.
God sent the Prophet Isaiah to tell a sick King Hezekiah that he was going to die. Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and cried. When God saw the tears of King Hezekiah, God sent Isaiah back to him with the message, “I have heard your prayer. I have seen your tears.” And God added 15 years to his life.
When we express the sincere desire of our soul, which is often too deep for words, in tears or a sigh of despair – that is a prayer God hears and answers. God has as much interaction with people in the waiting rooms of operating theaters in our hospitals as He has in the sanctuaries of our churches.
Realizing your tears and sighs of despair are one of God’s prescriptions for authentic prayer, will you offer them to God as the prayers of your heart?
Dick Woodward, 18 January 2011