God’s Crown of PrayersFebruary 14, 2021 - 12:00 am
This Devotional's Hebrew Word
“…and call on me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you will honour me” — Psalm 50:15
In honour of my father, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, and his lifework helping Christians understand the Jewish roots of their faith, I offer you one of his devotional teachings from the beloved Psalms.
If you’ve ever had to ask for help, you know that it isn’t an easy thing to do. We worry about bothering someone else with our problems. We are apprehensive about becoming a burden. When it comes to human beings, we believe the more we ask for help, the more burdensome we become. However, when it comes to God, the exact opposite is true.
The more we ask for God’s help, the more we delight Him. The Jewish sages put it this way: “The Holy One, Blessed be He, makes a crown for Himself from the prayers of Israel.” A king is glorified by his crown; it adds to his kingship. In the same way, our prayers, as lowly as they may be, are God’s crown and add to the glory of God’s Kingdom.
Since the dawning of time, God has desired our prayers. The Bible teaches us that on the sixth day of creation, just before the creation of man, “no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground” (Genesis 2:5). Even though plants had been created on the third day, they remained hidden underground.
God did not send the rain in order to cause the plants to grow. Why? Because “there was no one to work the ground.” Man had not yet been created. There was no one to appreciate the rain and no one to pray for the rain. God waited for Adam to be created so that Adam might pray for rain and God could send it in abundance.
Now, God could have brought the rain on the third day. God could have brought Adam and Eve into a perfect world. However, God wanted something even greater: the perfection of humanity, and He knew that righteous human beings could only emerge by having a relationship with Him. And that relationship is born and nourished throughout a lifetime of prayer.
In Psalm 50, God gives a direct invitation to pray to Him in times of need: “and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honour me.” We often think that the purpose of prayer is to solve our problems. However, the truth is that God often sends us our problems so that we might pray to Him. God wants us to ask for His help. He wants us to build a relationship with Him.
Today, pray to God not just once, but all day long. In this way, God will deliver us from our troubles while we bring glory to His Kingdom.
Your turn: Discover the lessons of courage found in the biblical story of Esther, which is celebrated this month in the Jewish observance of Purim. Download a complimentary copy of the chapter on Purim from my new book, Generation to Generation: Passing on a Legacy of Faith to Our Children.