The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry. —Psalm 34:15
Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. —Matthew 7:7
Last night, a prayer vigil for racial justice was held in Park Ridge. Some people gathered at a social distance near Uptown to pray, and many others chose to pray from home at the same time. In the midst of confusion, anger, fear, and heartbreak, Christ-followers pray. Even as we’re also called to act, turning first to our powerful and loving God is a non-negotiable part of the Christian life. We carry the confusion, anger, fear, and heartbreak directly to God. We ask God for guidance and healing. We ask God for direction and wisdom. We ask God for courage and compassion. We remember that God is the surest source of what we, and the world, need.
In today’s passages, I am in awe of God’s responsiveness to us. God doesn’t ignore us. God isn’t too far or too busy. When we speak, God is present, God listens, and God responds. The psalmist reminds us that God’s “ears are open” to the cries of God’s people. In fact, in the rest of Psalm 34, he repeats similar words about God’s responsiveness to people. The psalmist says, “I sought the LORD, and he answered me” (v. 4), “This poor man called, and the LORD heard him” (v. 6), “those who seek the LORD lack no good thing” (v. 10), and “the righteous cry out and the LORD hears them” (v. 17). Likewise, Jesus assures his followers in the book of Matthew that when we fervently pursue God, things happen: ask and receive, search and find, knock and enter.
I have said before that when problems feel big, I feel too small to pray. And the truth is, I am very small relative to the world’s pain and injustices. That’s precisely why prayer is essential. These passages are a call not just to pray, but to persist in prayer—to keep talking to God, to keep seeking God, to keep asking God to intervene.