March 20 I Friday
“In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God
for help.” —Psalm 18:6
Like the psalmist’s prayer from the opening verse of this devotion, have we ever prayed with such urgency before? When we look at Scripture, one of the Greek words used to describe prayer is deésis, which is often translated, “petition.” This word occurs about 19 times in the New Testament and means, “bringing forward personal needs and desires in prayer.” An interesting thing about the Greek word deésis is that it derives from another Greek word, deomai, which means, “to want, to beg, to desire and to long for.”
In the context of Paul’s writing to Timothy, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions…” (1 Timothy 2:1), Paul is telling Timothy not only to lay his requests—deésis—before God but there should also be an intensity—deomai—that is embodied in his prayer. In other words, Paul is urging Timothy to come to God like his life depended on it and seek Him earnestly.
We see this kind of prayer in times of crisis. For example, when Hurricane Dorian swept across the Bahamas last September, there was a social media post that captured a lady standing on the roof of her house as the hurricane is blowing in the background and she desperately cries out, “Lord, please save us. If you are out there and watching this, please pray for us. Bahamas is getting destroyed right now.” In this moment of distress, the lady was practicing deésis with the amount of intensity behind her prayers.
The “hurricanes” of our life remind us of that reality. When life starts to go sideways or when trials and tribulations comes into our lives, we find that our prayer life intensifies as we seek God with a fervency that we may not seek Him with when everything is going well. In Jim Cymbala’s book Fresh Wind Fresh Fire, he says, “Prayer cannot truly be taught by principles and seminars and symposiums. It has to be born out of a whole environment of felt need. If I say, ‘I ought to pray,’ I will soon run out of motivation and quit; the flesh is too strong. I have to be driven to pray.”
How are we when we pray? We should pray to the Lord like we desire for His kingdom to come. Even when life is going well with the sun shining and the sky is blue, do we still pray with a sense of urgency and longing for God? As we see what is happening in our community, nation and our world, may we come before God, deomai and earnestly seek Him.
Prayer: Lord God, grow in me an earnest desire to pray each day through the “hurricanes” of my life. Thank You, Lord, that You hear my prayers and You do respond in Your ways. Praise You!