A number of moving prayers can be found in the Old Testament. These prayers fall across the continuum of joy to lament, revealing the depths of human experience and the majestic grace of a loving God who hears everything and takes every prayer to heart. Following the insights and wisdom of world-renowned Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann, we will explore some of these ancient prayers and how they might help make prayer come alive for us today. Among the prayers to be explored are those of Abraham, Moses, Hannah, David, Solomon, Jonah, Jeremiah, Hezekiah, Nehemiah, Daniel, and Job.
The suffering figure of Job captures our imaginations. Throughout the book, Job (whose name means “adversary”) refuses to settle for easy, pious answers for his suffering. Job speaks from the core of his pain and from an unrestrained sense of not being taken seriously. In his final prayer, Job places his heart into the hands of the mysterious and unconventional God who often defies logical human explanations. Our message, A Cry of the Heart, will come from Job 42:1-6.
Job 42:1-6 (NRSV)
1Then Job answered the Lord: 2“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore, I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 4‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you declare to me.’ 5I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; 6therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”