Psa. 42:7 Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.
Real prayer comes from the depths of our heart, it is a combination of our deep longings and God’s deep love. It is a mysterious blending of man’s hunger and need and the anointing of the Spirit. It’s not our eloquence, our formula, or our many words that get God’s atention, It is the heart crying out for Him. It’s the cry of Bartimaeus, the touch of the woman with the issue of blood, the centurion’s faith, or the desperate actions of friends tearing off a roof. Heart faith is displayed in groanings too deep for ordinary words. Crying to God in your heavenly language is a picture of utter dependency on The Lord. He always responds to the cries of faith. Here are some powerful words about the simplicity and depth of prayer from Luther.
“Then Jacob prayed, ” . . . I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. . . . Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children.”Genesis 32:9–11
When we pray, we shouldn’t “keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words” (Matthew 6:7). People who blather on when they pray aren’t thinking about God’s promises and commands regarding prayer or even the help they so desperately need. This isn’t true prayer. I used to pray this way when I was a monk. I called out to God in times of need, but I didn’t know anything about God’s promise to hear me or about his command to pray. I was only mumbling words. Real prayer, on the other hand, comes from deep down. Like Jacob’s prayer in this passage, real prayer comes from a heart full of faith that realizes both the need to pray and God’s command to pray. But some people routinely mumble their prayers while their thoughts are far away. They’re not really praying, for they don’t even know what they’re saying. A real prayer doesn’t require a lot of words. Instead, it often involves long, deep sighs, without any words at all. Jacob’s prayer probably wasn’t limited to the words recorded by Moses here. Most likely, Jacob sighed all day and all night.”
Luther had a great understanding of prayer. He learned his prayer in times of desperation. He was living in life threatening circumstances from the pope and the Holy Roman Emperor for many years. He learned about the power of groaning before The Lord. Sometimes words aren’t enough. Just releasing our hearts in sounds to The Lord is really all that is necessary. He hears our heart’s cry and responds. If you are in a storm you don’t have to depend on your eloquence or your many words, sometimes a silent prayer or a groan is all you need to find yourself in His loving arms.