Idle Prayers, Idol Prayers, Musical Prayers?
My five year old granddaughter Addie has a unique perspective on prayer. Upon my arrival to watch them overnight, she excitedly came to me to say, "Do you want to see Jesus? You can talk to Him, and He will talk to you." So, of course, I went to see this talking Jesus in her room. There in her closet was a dresser with a cupboard door. Inside sat an (ugly) porcelain bust of a small angel as if it were a shrine. Addie, keeper of the shrine, said, "Do you want to talk to Him or He can be your wishing well and give you anything you want!" Hmm. This wasn't her mama's theology or what she was taught in Sunday school, or learned on her grandpa's knee. However, David had an ultimate confidence God would hear his prayers and was worthy of praise, no idol needed.
She loves for him to tell her non-stop Bible stories at the ballgames. So she wanted to pass some of these on to her twin brother at lunch and said, "Do you want me to tell you about the Wise Men or about Daniel in the lions' den?" He said, of course, "The lion's den." So she began, "The Wise Men came and said, 'If you don't bow down to us, we'll throw you to the lions.'" Close enough.
This little psalm is an echo of portions of Psalm 40...
"O hasten to deliver me;
"O hasten to deliver me;
O Lord, hasten to my help!
Let those be ashamed and humiliated
Who seek my life ;
Let those be turned back and dishonored
Who delight in my hurt.
Let those be turned back
because of their shame
Who say, 'Aha, aha!'"
"Aha, aha," are the very essence of scorn as is delighting in someone's hurt with the intention of injuring someone. ("Junior High called and wants their drama back.") However, sometimes life is a little more serious and deadly as the world David faced.
Yet, songster that he is, the other half
is one of confidence and praise...
"Let all who seek Thee rejoice and be glad in Thee;
And let those who love Thy salvation say continually,
'Let God be magnified.'
But I am afflicted and needy;
Hasten to me, O God!
Thou art my help and my deliverer;
O Lord, do not delay."
Here's a little poem that speaks of one in mourning wanting to say what was left unsaid before their loss. In a different sense, sometimes when we say a prayer, that message needs to find a way to heaven. David chose music to send it. His prayers put to music have endured over the centuries, thousands of years and still hit our heart strings as prayers to be lifted to heaven.
"I had a message to send her,
To her whom my soul loves best;
But I had my task to finish,
And she had gone to rest:
To rest in the far bright Heaven--
Oh! so far away from here!
It was vain to speak to my darling,
For I know she could not hear.
I had a message to send her,
So tender, and true, and sweet,
I longed for an angel to hear it,
And lay it down at her feet.
I placed it, one summer's evening
On a little white cloud's breast;
But it faded in golden splendor,
And died in the crimson west.
I gave it the lark next morning;
And I watched it soar and soar;
But its pinions grew faint and weary,
And it fluttered to earth once more.
I cried, in my passionate longing,
Has the earth no angel friend
Who will carry my love the message
My heart desires to send?
Then I heard a strain of music,
So mighty, so pure, so dear,
That my very sorrow was silent,
And my heart stood still to hear.
It rose in harmonious rushing
Of mingled voices and strings,
And I tenderly laid my message
On music's outspread wings.
And I heard it float farther and farther,
In sound more perfect than speech,
Farther than sight can follow,
Farther than soul can reach.
And I know that at last my message
Has passed through the golden gate;
So my heart is no longer restless,
And I am content to wait.
Adelaide Anne Procter
Died in 1864